A 64-year-old man from New Jersey has been identified as the person who set himself on fire on the National Mall last week and died of severe burn wounds.
John Constantino of Mount Laurel was the man who poured gasoline on himself and then set his body on fire using a lighter, D.C. police told the Washington Post on Tuesday.
According to a statement from Jeffrey Cox, a lawyer representing Constantino’s family, the New Jersey man was not trying to make a political statement with his act and that he was waging “a long battle with mental illness.” The statement went on to call Constantino a “loving father and husband,” according to the Post.
Authorities are still not sure why Constantino lit himself on fire Friday on the National Mall in Washington. He suffered severe burns and died at a local hospital.
A neighbor of Constantino’s told the Post she was shocked that he would set himself on fire.
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“Just a sweet, sweet man,” she said of the Mount Laurel man.
She told the Post that Constantino had relatives in D.C. and may have been visiting them.
Cox’s letter requested that the media respect the family’s request for privacy, calling Constantino’s death a “personal family matter that is not an issue of public concern.”