Alum sets fire to 9/11 memorial

A Duke alumnus was arrested Saturday for setting fire to the temporary resting place of victims of 9/11.

Brian Schroeder, Trinity ’05, turned himself in to New York City police Saturday night for allegedly setting fire to a section of Memorial Park’s chapel, located on Manhattan’s East Side. New York Fire Department personnel responded to the incident Saturday morning and quickly extinguished the flames. Police believe the incident to be the result of a drunken dare, the (New York) Village Voice reported.

The victims’ remains were not damaged, but items such as photos, notes, candles and flowers to honor the deceased are missing. It is unclear whether they were destroyed in the fire or stolen. A wooden bench was damaged in the fire.

In an e-mail to family members of 9/11 victims, Nazli Parvizi, community affairs commissioner for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said little is left inside the chapel.

“This chapel served as a quiet sanctuary where families could spend time near the remains of their loved ones and leave notes, photos, mementos, etc. behind,” Parvizi wrote.

It is unclear how Schroeder gained access to the facility, as unique photo IDs are required to enter the site.

“Anyone who would set fire to the inviolable Memorial Park chapel is craven and contemptible,” Bloomberg said in a statement Saturday. “Fire marshals and police will investigate this aggressively and bring whoever is responsible to justice.”

Schroeder was a Theater Studies major at Duke and recently graduated from Harvard Law School.


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