WABC is reporting that Marc Lamparello, a 37-year-old man from New Jersey, entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan with two red one-gallon gas cans, a lighter and two bottles of lighter fluid.

He was near the pews when church ushers stopped him, and nearby officers with the NYPD Critical Response Command took him into custody.

If you’ve been to St. Patrick’s recently, you know that there are big boulders all around the front as is the case with other popular places in NYC. It’s our new normal. There is also security at St. Pats, and usually, police officers close by. It’s a blessing that officers were close by to arrest this man. The NYPD is calling him an “emotionally disturbed person but has not ruled out terrorism:

Deputy Commissioner John Miller spoke at a press conference:

“His basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue…that his car had run out of gas.” Officers looked at his vehicle and, “It was not out of gas. At that point, he was taken into custody and brought to the Midtown North stationhouse.

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Miller was asked if he thought this was terrorism:

“It’s too early to say that. It’s hard to say what exactly his intentions were.”

“But I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, carrying four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid & a lighter is something that we would have great concern over. His story is not consistent.”

A photo of the gas cans and lighters below:

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WABC reports that the man’s “intentions weren’t immediately clear.” Huh?

One source noted “the timing is odd,” given that it is two days since the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Yes, the timing is “odd”…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in 1878.  A sprinkler-like system was recently installed during renovations.

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