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News / Nation & World

Man sets self on fire outside courthouse hosting Trump’s trial

By Associated Press
Published: April 19, 2024, 4:21pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Police officials said they were reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial after a man set himself on fire there Friday.

“We may have to shut this area down,” New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a news conference outside the courthouse, adding that officials would discuss the security plan soon.

Collect Pond Park has been a gathering spot for protesters, journalists and gawkers throughout Trump’s trial, which began with jury selection Monday.

Crowds there have been small and largely orderly, but around 1:30 p.m. Friday, a man there took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories, tossed them around, then doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire, officials and witnesses said.

A large number of police officers were nearby when it happened. Some officers and bystanders rushed to the man’s aid. He was hospitalized in critical condition Friday afternoon.

The man, who police said had traveled from Florida to New York in the last few days, hadn’t breached any security checkpoints to get into the park. Through Friday, the streets and sidewalks in the area around the courthouse were generally wide open, though the side street where Trump enters and leaves the building is off limits.

People accessing the floor of the large courthouse where the trial is taking place have to pass through a pair of metal detectors.

Authorities said they were also reviewing the security protocols outside the courthouse.

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