Richard Schwartz Assistant attorney general killed after lightning strikes in Brooklyn
New York - A longtime assistant attorney general was killed after a lightning strike sent bricks falling off the steeple of a Brooklyn church, causing a scaffold collapse on Thursday night, officials said.
It happened at Christ Church at 324 Clinton St. in Cobble Hill at about 8 p.m.
Richard Schwartz, 61, was walking down the sidewalk when the incident happened. He was rushed to Long Island College Hospital but it was too late.
Schwartz was an antitrust lawyer in the Office of the Attorney General's economic justice division, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
"New York is a better place because of Richard's commitment to fairness and legal excellence," Schneiderman said in a statement. "Richard's loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers as we mourn the untimely loss of one of our own."
Schwartz had worked for the Office of the Attorney General for 25 years.
"His commitment to placing the needs of New Yorkers above all else will be remembered and cherished," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "His work ethic and his passion were an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues with whom he worked during his many years in State service."
FDNY Chief Vinny Mandela said lightning apparently hit the steeple.
"It knocked several big blocks down as you can see on the street here and they took out part of the scaffolding," Mandela said.
Schwartz's death is the only one blamed on a violent storm system that swept across the tristate region Thursday evening.