Man arrested after entering New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral with gasoline and lighter fluid

A man was arrested in New York City on Wednesday (April 17) night after he tried to enter a cathedral with gas cans and lighter fluid.

This has triggered worries about a possible arson attempt in the wake of a destructive fire at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Officers with the New York Police Department said they arrested a 37-year-old man outside of the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral after he entered the building with two gasoline cans, two bottles of lighter fluid and butane lighters.

A cathedral security officer stopped the man, who spilt some gasoline on the floor and alerted counterterrorism officers who were standing nearby. An officer with the NYPD's Critical Response Command took the man into custody without incident.

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.

When asked if terrorism was a possible motive, Miller said, "It's too early to say that. It's hard to say exactly what his intentions were."

The suspect had been charged with a crime as of late Wednesday night, but he is expected to be held for a psychiatric evaluation, police sources said.