Man Set Himself on Fire Outside Trump’s Trial

An individual appears to have set himself on fire outside of the Manhattan courthouse the moment jury selection was finalized in the criminal hush money trial of former President Donald Trump.

The apparent self-immolation was carried live by several news networks, who initially believed a fire had broken out in the park, and quickly cut away after realizing someone was aflame. The incident took place in a park across the street from the court as news crews reported that the jury in Trump’s trial had been officially seated. The park is a popular spot where protesters, press, and curious onlookers gathered during the first week of the trial.

The individual, who was identified by the New York Police Department as Maxwell Azzarello, was quickly reached by police and onlookers, who threw jackets on him in an attempt to quell the flames as first responders rushed to secure a fire extinguisher.

Minutes after the flames were extinguished, news crews on the scene reported that Azzarello was alive and being treated by medics. He was removed from the scene on a stretcher shortly after for further treatment. The NYPD later said that Azzarello was in critical condition and receiving treatment at the Cornell Burn Center.

Police also characterized the flyers thrown by Azzarello ahead of his self-immolation were “propaganda based, almost like a conspiracy theory type of pamphlet,” that included information on alleged Ponzi schemes and mob influence.

While answering questions, law enforcement indicated that they have yet to see evidence indicating Azzarello’s actions were motivated by the events of Trump’s trial.

According to Fox News, who unintentionally carried the immolation live and spoke to witnesses at the scene, the man threw a stack of “pink and white and yellow and green pages” around him before dousing himself in gasoline and setting himself on fire.

“I saw the flames and thought someone set a garbage can on fire. Not imagining at all it could be a human being who self-immolated,” Fox News’s Eric Shawn said after witnessing the incident.

CNN, which also briefly aired the self-immolation, initially believed there was an active shooter in the park. “There is chaos that is happening, people are wondering right now if people are in danger,” CNN Anchor Laura Coates reported as the chaos unfolded around her.

One witness at the scene said that the man seemed “calm” in the moments before the incident and that several witnesses ran to gain distance from him when they realized he was pouring gasoline on himself.

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