Man sets self on fire outside New York court where Trump trial underway

A smell of smoke lingered in the plaza shortly after the incident

By Reuters
April 20, 2024
Fire extinguishers (R) are left at the park across from Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City after a man reportedly set himself on fire during the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump, in New York City on April 19, 2024. — AFP

NEW YORK: A man set himself on fire on Friday outside the New York courthouse where Donald Trump’s historic hush-money trial was taking place, witnesses said.


A witness on the scene said he first heard the man throwing pamphlets into the air, then saw him douse himself from a can and light himself on fire. “At that point, I said, ‘Oh shoot, what am I going to see?’” the witness told Reuters.

The witness, who called himself Dave and declined to give his last name, said the man burned for several minutes.

“I see a totally charred human being,” a CNN reporter said on the air.

A New York emergency official said a person was taken away on a stretcher after apparently setting themselves on fire. A reason for the incident was not known.

Other witnesses said the man appeared to be calm before he doused himself with liquid.

“It’s hard to even process in your brain,” another witness, who declined to give his name, told Reuters.

A smell of smoke lingered in the plaza shortly after the incident, according to a Reuters witness, and a police officer sprayed a fire extinguisher on the ground. A smoldering backpack and a gas can were visible.