Man who tried to set himself on fire in New York courtroom dies

The man who tried, on Friday around 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Paris time), to set himself on fire in front of the Manhattan court where Donald Trump appeared, is dead, announced Saturday April 20 several American media. The reasons for this act are currently unknown. Authorities identified the victim as Maxwell Azzarello, a man approximately 37 years old, from St. Augustine, Florida. According to the New York Police Department, he was in the hospital “in critical condition”.

During a press conference more than an hour after the tragedy, New York Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey reported that the man was “entered the center of the park” Collect Pond, located opposite the courthouse where the trial of the former Republican president is taking place, before opening a “book bag” and get out “colorful leaflets”which he threw in the park, then ” a can “ filled with what the police think “be a flame accelerator”.

The images, broadcast by American channels and on social networks, are impressive. With both hands behind his head, the man then transformed himself into a living torch, towards which police officers rushed. After several seconds of burning, he collapsed to the ground, before a fire extinguisher was used to put out the blaze. The man, “severely burned”, was then transported on a stretcher by emergency services.

Read the story | Article reserved for our subscribers Donald Trump, simple defendant, faces criminal justice in New York

Writings that “relate to conspiracy theories”

According to several American media, including the Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies, the leaflets he left at the scene referred to “evil billionaires” and called for “denounce this corruption”. “For now, we label him a conspiracy theorist and go from there”, said Tarik Sheppard, deputy commissioner of the New York police, during a press conference. According to another police official, Joseph Kenny, these writings “relate to conspiracy theories, there is information about Ponzi-type schemes, and the fact that some of our schools are fronts for the mafia”.

At the scene of the fire, clothes were still burning slowly on the ground and a strong smell was still emanating a few minutes later, noted an Agence France-Presse journalist present on site. A witness to the scene, who gave his name as Dave, 73, said he saw the man throw writings in the air before opening a can, dumping the contents on him and to set the fire using a lighter. According to police, the man arrived in New York a few days ago.

In graphics | US presidential election 2024: all the key dates of Donald Trump’s trials and the elections

The park where the man attempted to set himself on fire has already been occupied, since the trial opened on Monday, by a few dozen pro or anti-Trump demonstrators, but without any notable incident since. The court is the subject of increased surveillance due to the almost daily presence of the former American president. The police assured that they would review security protocols. But “this man did not violate security protocols”underlined Jeffrey Maddrey. “The park was open to the public”he added.

Full jury at Donald Trump trial

This drama outside the courtroom unfolded around the time Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the proceedings, proclaimed that the full jury had been selected to try Donald Trump, including twelve regulars and six alternates. Around 3 p.m. local time (9 p.m. Paris time), the hearing resumed and the former President of the United States did not make any comments upon his return to the courtroom.

The first former American president to appear in a criminal trial, Donald Trump is on trial in a case of hidden payments to buy the silence of a former porn star, Stormy Daniels, a few days before the 2016 election which he won on the wire against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former President of the United States (2017-2021), candidate for his return to the White House, arrived Friday morning at the Manhattan court for a fourth day of hearing, once again protesting against “a rigged trial” which prevents him from campaigning. He also targeted Judge Juan Merchan, the “worst ever”for having prohibited him from attacking witnesses or jurors, an attack according to Donald Trump to “his constitutional right to express himself” freely.

Read the analysis | Article reserved for our subscribers Donald Trump and his scandals hushed up at the heart of the Stormy Daniels affair trial

The World with AFP

Reuse this content

source site