🔥 Man lights himself on fire outside Manhattan courthouse

🔥 He attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick

🔥 Social media posts show spiral

A man who received his master's degree from Rutgers University has died after he shockingly set himself ablaze in public view outside a Manhattan courthouse.

Max Azzarello, 37, died at the hospital after dousing himself in an accelerant and lighting himself on fire, the New York City police said to the Associated Press.

Onlookers began to scream as Azzarello burned in Collect Pond Park around 1:30 p.m. Friday. A live AP video feed of the area showed him writhing on the ground before the video was taken down.

The park is located outside the Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump is on trial. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday after a full week of jury selection.

NYPD inspect a backpack left at the scene where a man lit himself on fire (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NYPD inspect a backpack left at the scene where a man lit himself on fire (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Officials said that Azzarello traveled from his home city of St. Augustine, Florida to New York City for the disturbing protest.

Max Azzarello's life before self-immolation

According to his LinkedIn profile, Azzarello attended the University of North Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009.

He then went to Rutgers University to receive his master's degree in city and regional planning.

A classmate who attended Rutgers with Azzarello said to the New York Times that he was well-liked and interested in social justice.

Gates at Rutgers University in New Brunswick
Gates at Rutgers University in New Brunswick (Rutgers University)

After receiving his master's, Azzarello worked on political campaigns for U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y. 3rd District, and U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-C.A. 6th District. He also worked with politically involved organizations including the Liberty Hill Foundation and Strong Towns.

Social media posts show spiral

Azzarello began posting on social media in 2023 about the need for a revolution. He espoused that political elites were using cryptocurrency to control the world economy.

"Cryptocurrency is our first planetary multi-trillion dollar Ponzi scheme that's about to collapse the world economy so our elites can try to fascist coup us," he wrote on his LinkedIn page.

In March 2023, he listed his occupation as a self-employed "Research Investigator."

Max Azzerello calling for a revolution Instagram videos (Instagram)
Max Azzerello calling for a revolution Instagram videos (Instagram)

However, the posts only began around a year after the death of his mother on April 6, 2022.

"She never stopped being gracious and warm, silly and catty, compassionate and supportive. I can honestly say that the recent time I've spent with her was as fun as any I've had," said Azzarello on Instagram.

One of Azzarello's friends told the New York Times that there was a noticeable change in his behavior.

On Oct. 6, 2023, Azzarello posted a booklet on Instagram that included anti-government messages various topics including the Simpsons television show being "evil brainwashing" and Harvard University being an organized crime network.

It also included conspiracy theories about the Clintons, Elon Musk, George W. Bush, and other political figures.

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