National Mall Suicide Wasn't Political: Family
Neighbors baffled by death of John Constantino
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2013 2:11 AM CDT
People run to a man who set himself on fire on the National Mall last week.   (AP Photo/Katy Scheflen)

(Newser) – The suicide of the man who set himself ablaze on the National Mall last week was the result of mental illness, not his political beliefs, his family says. John Constantino "was a loving father and husband," and his death "was not a political act or statement," the 64-year-old's family said in a statement, the AP reports. The family would like to acknowledge "the heroism of the paramedics and bystanders who attempted to save his life," the statement says.

The family's lawyer says he is "not aware of any anti-government statements made by him or any ill will he may have had against the government." His neighbors say they are baffled by the death of the man they describe as friendly and happy. He had complained about the government to neighbors—though only in terms that many ordinary Americans would agree with. "He said they were a waste of time, effort, and money," one neighbor tells the New York Daily News. "He said to me, 'They’re no good. They don’t look out for us and they don’t care about anything but their own pockets.'"