A 37-year-old New Jersey man carrying two full-gallon cans of gas was arrested on Wednesday night after he entered St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, police said. The man entered the cathedral shortly before 8 pm John Miller, deputy commissioner of the police department for reconnaissance and counter-terrorism, rejected him. As the man left the room, gas spilled on the floor.
The security guard informed two police officers outside the cathedral who were arresting the man and interrogating him. While cooperative, his answers were contradictory and evasive, Miller said at a press conference.
The man also had two bottles of lighter liquid and two extended butane lighters, Miller said. The man was unhurt and the church undamaged.
"The person was stopped when he tried to enter the cathedral," the Archdiocese of New York said in a statement. The man, the statement goes on, "was handed over to the police. Nothing happened in the cathedral. "
The man whose name the police did not release were not immediately charged. "He's known to the police," Miller said, without commenting.
The episode drew a heavy police presence. About a dozen officers gathered at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown while another officer was directing traffic on the corner. Another half dozen officers stood in front of the church entrance.
The meeting took place two days after a fire that was torn by the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the city's most famous monuments. The investigators are still investigating the specific cause of this fire, although it was thought to be accidental.
St. The Cathedral of Patrick can accommodate 2,200 people and opened its doors in May 1879.