Professor arrested with gas cans at New York church dies by suicide after release from jail due to COVID-19

WABC logo
Thursday, April 23, 2020

NEW YORK -- The former philosophy professor who allegedly tried to set a fire as he entered a New York church with gasoline cans last year has died by suicide, his lawyer told ABC News.

Marc Lamparello, who was schizophrenic, had been released from Rikers Island as part of the city's effort to reduce the jail population due to the coronavirus.

As a condition of his release, Lamparello was supposed to participate in a treatment program at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. Instead his lawyer said he received no treatment and jumped from the Verrazzano Bridge.

"This is a very sad ending for a person, a human being, and a family dealing with mental health issues," Chris DiLorenzo said. "He needed help and due to circumstances, it wasn't there for him. In the end, I believe New Bridge failed him. They had him at their facility and under their control and were aware of his circumstances, and yet failed to act in a safe manor for his care and well being. I am saddened by what has happened."

RELATED: Young Chicago attorney springs prisoners in COVID-19 scare at Cook County Jail

Chicago attorney Cierra Norris graduated from DePaul Law School three years ago. Now she is a front-line force helping Cook County jail detainees escape the COVID-19 threat.

Lamparello, a PhD candidate at The City University of New York, was allegedly off his medication last April when he tried to enter St. Patrick's Cathedral with two gas cans and a lighter.

Though Lamparello was stopped before he could do any damage, the attempted arson drew extra attention because it came the same week as the dramatic April fire at Notre Dame in Paris.

Lamparello had told officers he was merely taking a shortcut through the church to reach his car, which he claimed had run out of gas.