St Patrick’s suspect previously arrested at other cathedral


NEW YORK (AP) — A college philosophy teacher arrested after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two
cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also been arrested at a New Jersey cathedral
this week and had booked a Thursday flight to Rome, the New York Police Department said.
Marc Lamparello, 37, is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment after his
arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s
deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.
It happened just days after Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was ravaged by a fire that investigators said
Thursday was most likely electrical. Miller would not discuss anything Lamparello told investigators
after his arrest but stressed that there "doesn’t appear to be any connection to any terrorist
group or any terrorist-related intent here."
Before going to St. Patrick’s on Wednesday, Miller said, Lamparello booked a $2,800 ticket on a 5:20 p.m.
Thursday flight to Italy. Asked if Lamparello indicated what he planned to do in Rome, Miller said,
"I’m not going to get into that right now."
Lamparello remained in police custody Thursday and had not been arraigned.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Lamparello had a lawyer who could speak for him. A man leaving his
parents’ house Thursday in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, close to New York City, had no comment for a
reporter when asked about Lamparello.
Lamparello "wasn’t weird," said a neighbor, Salvatore Altomare, adding that he "seemed
like … a nice guy, walked a straight line."
Altomare described the family as "very good people. … They’re real Americans — try to do the right
Two nights before his arrest in New York — and hours after footage of Notre Dame burning was shown around
the world — police in Newark arrested Lamparello after he wouldn’t leave the Cathedral Basilica of the
Sacred Heart at closing time after a late Mass. Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said Thursday that
Lamparello was calm and respectful to the officers but was adamant about not leaving.
"He said, ‘This is a house of God, it should be open, I’m not leaving. You’ll have to lock me
up,’" Fontoura said.
After he was charged with three minor offenses including defiant trespass, emergency medical services
personnel examined Lamparello and determined he wasn’t a threat. Lamparello’s mother arrived and the two
drove back to Hasbrouck Heights in his van, according to Fontoura.
"There was no reason to check the van at that point," he said.
Lamparello is a philosophy instructor who has taught at New York City’s Lehman and Brooklyn colleges and
Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Lehman’s website listed him as a Ph.D. candidate at the City
University of New York’s Graduate Center.
In a statement, Lehman College spokesperson Sarah Ramsey said, "We are aware that an individual was
arrested last night after an incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The individual was hired at Lehman
College during this academic year, and was a part-time, online instructor this semester. We are taking
the appropriate steps to terminate the individual’s employment with the college."
A page on describes Lamparello’s 2016 book, "Reason and Counterpoint," as offering
"ambitious and highly creative answers to some of the most vexing philosophical questions."
The same page says Lamparello has been working on another book project described as "a witty
dialogue on arguments for and against the existence of God."
Miller said surveillance camera footage showed Lamparello circling St. Patrick’s several times in a
minivan well over an hour before he parked outside the cathedral on Fifth Avenue, walked around the
area, returned to his vehicle, and retrieved the gasoline and lighter fluid.
When he entered the church, he was confronted by a security officer, who notified counterterrorism
officers standing outside. Lamparello told the officers his car was out of gas and headed in a direction
away from where he was parked, Miller said.
Officers found his vehicle and determined it was not out of gas, Miller said.
David Porter reported from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner and
writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.

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