**This is a developing story. Check back later for more details.**
Seton Hall adjunct philosophy professor Marc Lamparello was taken into custody by NYPD counterterrorism officers yesterday evening after walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gasoline cans. The incident occurred just two days after the devastating blaze that nearly destroyed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
In a press conference, NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller told reporters that Lamparello pulled up in a minivan near the cathedral around 8:00 p.m. He then proceeded to remove two 2-gallon gasoline cans, two butane lighters and two bottles of lighter fluid from the vehicle and proceeded to make his way up the church steps.
Lamparello was then stopped and confronted by a cathedral security officer inside the building who informed him that he couldn’t enter the church with the materials. According to Miller, it was at that time that Lamparello reportedly spilled gasoline on the church floor while exiting the building, prompting the security officer to alert counterterrorism officers who were stationed outside.
When officers questioned Lamparello, Miller described his answers as “inconsistent and evasive” but noted that he remained conversational, telling officers he had been trying to cut through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue and that his car had run out of gas. Officers then found his vehicle and determined it was not out of gas at which point he was taken into custody. Lamparello has since been charged with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing in connection with the incident at St. Patrick’s.
Miller told reporters that although initially they hadn’t determined a motive, it didn’t appear to be terroristic in nature. He did note, though, “the totality of circumstances—of an individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, carrying over two gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters—is something that we would have great concern over.” Miller added that Lamparello had also booked a $2,800 ticket to Rome set to depart on Thursday evening before arriving at St. Patrick’s.
Prior to the incident at St. Patrick’s, Miller noted Lamparello had also apparently been arrested earlier this week on Monday evening at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey after he had refused to leave when the building closed.
A graduate with a philosophy degree from Boston College, Lamparello taught Philosophy 1101 — Intro to Philosophy — in the Spring 2018 semester and Philosophy 1105 — Ethics — for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters as a part-time adjunct professor at Seton Hall according to course records obtained by The Setonian.
Lamparello, who had been scheduled to teach two sections of Ethics the evening of his arrest, sent an email canceling class on account of an “unforeseen illness” and said that the section would meet again following Easter Break.
Laurie Pine, Seton Hall’s director of media
In addition to his adjunct professorship at Seton Hall, Lamparello was also listed as a part-time philosophy instructor who has taught at New York City’s Lehman and Brooklyn colleges.
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.”
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @NickKerr99.