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Rutgers alum self-immolation at Trump hearing receives mixed reactions

Major media outlets and a Rutgers alum have shared their perspectives on Rutgers alum Maxwell Azzarello's recent death by self-immolation.  – Photo by David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

Rutgers alum Maxwell Azzarello has died after he self-immolated outside of the New York County Supreme Court, where former U.S. President Donald J. Trump is currently being tried for falsifying business records, last Friday.

Azzarello left the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in 2012 with a master's degree in City and Regional Planning with a major in urban planning and policy development, according to a statement from the University.

His death, which he said he committed to protest a critical world coup in a post online, has drawn in both messages of support on social media and media investigations into his interest in conspiracy theories and previous political affiliation.

Katherine Brennan, a Rutgers alum, shared a post on social media platform X responding to the news of Azzarello's death, acknowledging both his positive traits and his more recent unfortunate history.

"Max was thoughtful, curious and wanted to make things better," she wrote. "He was silly, fun and a bright light to many, including me. This tragedy marked a terrible couple of years. We'll remember you."

Brennan's post was also corroborated by X user @xwalkparkers, who responded to her post with a picture of Azzarello's business card from his time at Rutgers. On the back of the card, Azzarello had left a note saying, "Life will be good to you," for the user.

"Max was a kind and generous friend," the user wrote. "He slipped this in my locker at a time I was going (through) it. I wish I'd been a better friend back to him."

More recent coverage of this event has included language such as "spouted conspiracy theories" and questions of whether Azzarello supported Trump or the Democratic party.

In the past year, Azzarello has shared various posts and statements on his LinkedIn regarding his concerns about fraud and corruption. 

His headline on the platform reads, "We've got a secret fascism problem," while his biography details how he uncovered truths about society, especially those related to cryptocurrency and its alleged impact on the world economy.

In his post addressing his self-immolation, he said he acknowledged how his beliefs may come off as fabricated and justified them as a marginal response in relation to what he was protesting.

"To my friends and family, witnesses and first responders, I deeply apologize for inflicting this pain upon you," he wrote in the post. "But I assure you it is a drop in the bucket compared to what our government intends to inflict."

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