In an alarming incident in New York City, a man set himself on fire across the street from the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is being tried. The shocking event, captured live during a CNN broadcast, has left the man in critical condition.

The incident unfolded while CNN’s Laura Coates was reporting on the Trump hush money trial. The broadcast took a dramatic turn as Coates reported live on the man, identified as Maxwell Azzarello from St. Augustine, Florida, who doused himself with an accelerant and ignited himself in a nearby park. The horrifying scene quickly went viral, with many praising Coates' quick response and handling of the unexpected crisis.

Authorities responded swiftly as Azzarello was engulfed in flames, with onlookers in shock. Officials, along with brave civilians, rushed to extinguish the fire, but not before Azzarello sustained severe injuries. He was immediately rushed to a hospital where he remains in a burn unit in critical condition.

The NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey confirmed at a news conference that prior to setting himself on fire, Azzarello had been distributing pamphlets containing conspiracy theories. “He doused himself and threw these pamphlets across the park... and immediately just lit himself on fire," a witness recounted to ABC News. The materials scattered around the scene were described as "propaganda-based."

Officials have stated that Azzarello did not appear to target any specific individual or group and believe he acted alone. However, the incident has prompted a thorough review of security protocols around the courthouse, especially given the high-profile nature of the Trump trial. The NYPD Bomb Squad also conducted sweeps of the area to ensure public safety.

Former President Trump, who was present in the courthouse at the time of the incident, has been informed of the situation. Trump is facing historic criminal charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

For those struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 offers free, confidential support 24/7.

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