Man sets himself on fire outside courthouse where Trump trial is being held

Man sets himself on fire outside courthouse where Trump trial is being held

NEW YORK — A man set himself on fire today outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is taking place.

The man was in the designated protest area outside. Police officers and officials ran toward him and someone used a fire extinguisher to try to put out the fire.

It appeared to happen around the time that the jury was fully empaneled — with 12 jurors and six alternates selected to sit for a trial that’s expected to last about six weeks. It occurred around 1:50 p.m. ET just before the court took a lunch break.

Man sets himself on fire outside courthouse where Trump trial is being held

According to the New York Police Department, an injured person was placed in an ambulance to be taken to a hospital. The NYPD said the fire is out.

Three law enforcement sources told NBC News that the man appears to have been a follower of some conspiracy theories and may have had emotional issues. He may have posted his intention to set himself on fire in advance, the sources said. 

Moments after setting himself on fire, the man was lying on the ground, burning. At times, he appeared to seize. Police tried to use a small fire extinguisher to put the fire out, but were unsuccessful. While still on fire, the man tried to sit up. Police then used a large extinguisher to put out the fire.

A 73-year-old man from the Upper West Side, Dave, watched it happen. Dave said the person threw up a bundle of pamphlets, picked them up and threw them again.

“I heard this clattering,” he said. “That caught our attention. Then he pulled out a can.”

David said he saw the man begin to douse himself in something before taking out a lighter.

“There I thought, this could be awful,” he said. “I’m old enough to remember the Vietnam War.”

He said the person then set himself alight and was quickly engulfed in flames. The person didn’t make a sound as people around him looked on, horrified.

Ed Quinn, a freelance photojournalist who lives in the East Village, said he was facing the court when: “I heard someone scream, ‘He’s going to light himself on fire.’” 

“I see him dumping gasoline on his face, very deliberately,” he said. “He had [a] gray t-shirt on. It soaked his face. It soaked his shirt. Boom, he went up.”

Quinn said it took the police about a minute to arrive. 

“Women were begging, screaming, put it out, put him out,” he said.