A New Jersey philosophy student allegedly attempted to enter St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown Manhattan armed with two gasoline canisters, lighter fluid and lighters, just two days after a dramatic fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Marc Lamparello, 37, was confronted by security in the cathedral who in turn called the police, according to the New York Post.
Before entering the house of worship, he parked his minivan nearby and walked around before going back to the vehicle and retrieving the gas and flammable paraphernalia, according to police.
"As he enters the cathedral he's confronted by a cathedral security officer who asks him where he's going and informs him he can't proceed into the cathedral carrying these things," NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said, according to Fox 5 NY. "At that point some gasoline apparently spills out onto the floor as he's turned around."
Miller said the man’s explanation did not make sense and it’s unclear what his intention was.
"His basic story was he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue. That his car had run out of gas," Miller said. "We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas and at that point he was taken into custody."
Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Lamparello is reportedly a CUNY student seeking his Ph.D. in philosophy, according to the New York Post.
“Thank you to @NYPDnews for the swift response. We are all focused on keeping our congregations and houses of worship safe as they celebrate this Holy Week,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted in response to the incident.
Lamparello was brought to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and he is being questioned. It's not clear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time or what charges he might face.
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