Man arrested after approaching historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gas can

Officers arrested a 37-year-old outside of the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

By Karma Allen

A man was arrested in New York City on Wednesday night after he tried to enter a cathedral with gas cans, triggering worries about a possible arson attempt in the wake of a destructive fire at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Sources with the New York Police Department said officers arrested a 37-year-old man outside of the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral after he approached the building with two gasoline cans late Wednesday.

Church ushers stopped the man and alerted officers who were standing nearby. An officer with the NYPD’s Critical Response Command took the man into custody without incident.

There were no injuries reported. Police are expected to offer more details at a news conference late Wednesday night.

(Getty Images) St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

“We are investigating an incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Expect a heavy police presence. Update to follow,” NYPD Midtown North tweeted at around 9:30 p.m.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that the suspect was being treated as an emotionally disturbed person.

The man’s intentions were not immediately clear though one police source noted “the timing is odd,” given that we are two days from the fire at Notre Dame. There is no indication the cause of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire was arson.

The famous cathedral, which opened its doors nearly 200 years ago, serves as seat of the New York Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese confirmed the incident in a statement to ABC News.

“The individual was stopped as he tried to come into the cathedral. Was turned over to the police,” the statement said. “Nothing happened inside the cathedral. Any further info has to come from the NYPD.”

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Categories: National News, News