Lightning Hits Christ Church, Kills Local Man With Flying Debris

July 27, 2012 Heather Chin
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Lightning killed a 61-year-old Cobble Hill man as he walked along Clinton Street at around 8 p.m. last night, Thursday, July 26.

Richard Schwartz, an assistant attorney general for New York State, was out for a stroll when lightning hit the steeple of Christ Church at 324 Clinton Street, police said. The impact sent stone debris and scaffolding from construction flying, a piece of which hit Schwartz on the head.

He was rushed to Long Island College Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He lived alone in the neighborhood, but neighbors and colleagues remembered him fondly.

“Richard was a dedicated public servant and attorney who served the State of New York in the Office of the Attorney General for over 25 years,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said after learning of Schwartz’s death. “His work ethic and his passion were an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman agreed, stating that “New York is a better place because of Richard’s commitment to fairness and legal excellence” as an “expert antitrust lawyer in the Office of the Attorney General’s economic justice division.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz invoked the nature of Schwartz’s death as a reminder of the unpredictability of life and nature.

“All of Brooklyn is deeply saddened over the passing of Cobble Hill resident Richard Schwartz, who was struck by falling debris at Christ Church during last night’s storms, just a short distance from his home,” said Markowitz. “His passing is an unfortunate reminder about the destructive force of nature and the need for all of us to always be prepared and vigilant.”

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