MANHATTAN, NEW YORK—On Saturday, April 20, Maxwell Azzarello died at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center located at 525 East 68th Street, New York, NY.  Azzarello was transported to the Cornell burn unit on Friday, April 19, after setting himself on fire outside of the New York City Courthouse where the criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump was taking place.  

Azzarello was listed in critical condition on April 19th and succumbed to his injuries on the morning of April 20th.

On Friday, April 19, at approximately 1:30 p.m., an individual. Later identified as Maxwell Azzarello of St. Augustine, Florida, who traveled in for the criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump, caught himself on fire outside the New York City Courthouse.

At the time of the incident, Azzarello was in the designated protest area outside of the courthouse across the street when he started acting strangely.  Reports indicate he was there the day before, on Thursday, April 18th too.

A bystander named “Dave,” who is from the Upper West Side, told NBC that he watched it happen. He indicated that the person was repeatedly throwing pamphlets he had up in the air. He would let them fall, and throw them again.  I heard this clattering. That caught my attention. Then, he pulled out a can. “There I thought, this could be awful. I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War.”

Ed Quinn, a freelance photojournalist who lives in the East Village, said he was facing the court. “I heard someone scream, ‘He’s going to light himself on fire’.’”

“I see him dumping gasoline on his face, very deliberately,” he said. “He had [a] gray t-shirt on. It soaked his face. It soaked his shirt. Boom, he went up,”  Quinn stated.

The New York Police Department (NYPD), Chief of Police, Jeffrey Maggi,  confirmed the details of Ed Quinn’s account of what happened in his statement.

“We observed a male walk into the park. He walked to the center of the park. When he’s in the park he starts shuffling around his clothes, he opens up a book bag. From the bookbag he takes numerous pieces of paper out, he throws the pamphlets throughout the park, and then he pulls out a canister and puts some kind of liquid on himself. A liquid we believe is an accelerant, and he lights himself on fire.” —Jeffrey Maggi, NYPD Chief of Department.

Bystanders told reporters that they could hear people screaming, “Put him out, put him out.”

The New York Times first reported that it was 1:35 p.m. (EST) when Azzarello set himself on fire. Police who were on site working crowd control were able to get to the man with a fire extinguisher by 1:37 p.m.

Friends and neighbors told reporters that Azzarello was a good guy.  Multiple reports indicate that he was extremely close to his mother who passed in 2022. After her death, Azzarello became obsessed with some conspiracy theories of an apocalypse.  This was not reserved for a particular political party.

He posted a video on Instagram under dipshit_secrets.  In his posts, Max writes of a revolution. He is the author of, “The Ponzi Papers,” and 4 other publications he mentions on Instagram. 

“(All the) Dips**t secrets of the Rotten World.  We’re victims of a bi-partisan, totalitarian con that will soon collapse the economy.”  There are also photos on social media of Max holding a sign that reads, “Trump is with Biden and they are about to coup us,” Maz Azzarello posted on Instagram.