MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) – The death of a New Jersey man who set himself on fire on the National Mall was the result of his long fight with mental illness, not a political statement, his family said.
John Constantino, 64, of Mount Laurel, N.J., poured the contents of a canister of gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon, police said. He then set himself ablaze, with passing joggers taking off their shirts to help put out the flames.
Police had said Constantino was conscious and breathing at the scene, but he died later that night at a Washington hospital.
“John Constantino was a loving father and husband. His death was not a political act or statement, but the result of his long battle with mental illness,” his family said in a statement issued through lawyer Jeffrey Cox.
After he set himself on fire, there was speculation about whether his self-immolation was an effort to protest the federal government shutdown, President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul, or anything else.
The statement did not address the nature of the mental illness, and Cox said he did not know Constantino’s occupation or other biographical details. He also said that funeral arrangements had not been finalized.
The family said in the statement that it “would like to acknowledge the heroism of the paramedics and bystanders who attempted to save” Constantino.
The family “is shocked and deeply saddened,” the statement said. Describing the incident as a “personal family matter and not an issue of public concern,” it asked that the media respect its request for privacy.
Constantino had lived in a townhome in the Philadelphia suburb of Mount Laurel since the unit was built in 1989, property records show. No one answered the door Tuesday at the house, where freshly planted chrysanthemums were in front.
Several neighbors said they didn’t know Constantino. Some who did said he was a good man and that his death was a surprise.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development