Police have neutralized a gunman outside St. John the Divine Church in Manhattan, after the suspect fired rounds into the air and at cops at the end of a Christmas choir show. The shooter died of his wounds in a hospital.
The shooting took place at the steps of the cathedral at the very end of a Christmas choral concert, attended by 200 people, according to police and numerous witnesses who fled the scene in panic.
“He was shooting it up in the air and toward police,” a police source told the New York Post, while a Reuters photographer heard the man shouting “Kill me!” and “Shoot me!”
— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) December 13, 2020
Several officers providing security at the venue took cover and reportedly tried to persuade the shooter to drop his guns, but eventually fired a total of 15 rounds at the suspect, striking him at least once in the head. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, and later died of his wounds.
There were no casualties among carolers or other civilian bystanders, and no officer has been reported as injured.
A gunman opened fire from the steps of New York City's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine just after an outdoor choir performance there on Sunday, and was shot dead by police https://t.co/WU9zMMkHUd pic.twitter.com/dlCdmBgJoC
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 14, 2020
The motives of the shooter remain unclear, and his identity has yet to be released. Police recovered two handguns from the scene – and found a can of gasoline, rope, tape, wire, several knives and a Bible – inside a bag belonging to the suspect.
The suspect is also believed to be the owner of a bag found nearby that had a full container of gasoline, rope, wire, and multiple knives. pic.twitter.com/0srfLxB8S9
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2020
“I think we can all surmise the ill intentions of the proceeds of this bag,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
It is horrible that our choir’s gift to New York City, a much-needed afternoon of song and unity, was cut short by this shocking act of violence. We will remain strong, together, and serve as a safe space for prayer, meditation and celebration during the upcoming holiday season.
— Cathedral of St. John the Divine (@StJohnDivineNYC) December 13, 2020