Man who set himself on fire outside of Trump trial dies, police say

The man who set himself on fire Friday outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial has died, police said.

The New York City Police Department said early Saturday that the man was declared dead by staff at an area hospital.

Officials earlier had identified the man as Maxwell Azzarello and said he traveled to the city from Florida, likely to promote far-reaching conspiracy theories.

FILE - Mug shot of Maxwell Azzarello from Florida. Maxwell was booked in August 2023.  (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

The man was in Collect Pond Park around 1:30 p.m. Friday when he took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories, tossed them around, then doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire, officials and witnesses said.

Video from FOX 5 NY shows the man engulfed in flames outside of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse.

A large number of police officers were nearby when it happened. Some officers and bystanders rushed to the aid of the man, who was hospitalized in critical condition at the time.

Still image taken from video outside of the courthouse where former President Donald Trump hush money trial was taking place.  (FOX 5 New York)

RELATED: Man sets himself on fire during Trump trial jury selection at NYC courthouse

People who witnessed the incident were visibly distressed.

Witness William Schoeffler said he was checking out the park where Trump supporters were talking when he saw a man cover himself in gas.

"This guy just starts dousing himself with gas," he told FOX 5 NY. "He covered himself in enough gas that he just lit himself on fire."

Schoeffler said the man who lit himself on fire was previously spotted outside of the courthouse this week and was sounding off conspiracy theories.

"I've never seen anything like it," Schoeffler said. "At that point, there's really nothing anyone can do, other than just hope that somebody has a fire extinguisher."

Authorities said they were reviewing the security protocols outside the courthouse.

RELATED: Trump’s hush money trial: Jury has been chosen; now what?

Trump’s trial began Monday inside the courthouse with jury selection. The judge has suggested that opening statements could begin as early as Monday. 

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records, which is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. 

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.