Everyone’s a little on edge after the still unexplained fire that destroyed part of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. So here’s some scarily similar news, but with a happier ending: Wednesday night a man walked into St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York carrying two canisters filled with gasoline and a pair of lighters. He was quickly apprehended without incident.
It all happened a little before 8pm, according to BuzzFeed News. Upon entering, the man was approached by a security guard, who informed him he couldn’t bring flammable materials into the church. As they spoke, gas spilled on the floor. The man tried to leave, but the guard was able to notify two nearby officers, who approached him for questioning. At the time the church was filled with parishioners.
The motives of the suspect, as yet unidentified, are still under investigation, said John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism at the NYPD.
“It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were but I think the totality of an individual walking into an iconic location carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something we would have great concern over,” Miller told reporters. “We’re looking into his background and talking to a couple of other agencies.”
The suspect claimed he was cutting through the church to get to Madison Avenue, and that his minivan, parked nearby, was out of gas. Officers checked his vehicle and determined he was lying.
“His answers were inconsistent and evasive, although he remained conversational with them and cooperative,” said Miller. He also noted that the suspect is known to local law enforcement.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in midtown Manhattan, has had heightened security since the Notre Dame fire. Both cathedrals have ceilings made of wood.
(Via BuzzFeed News)