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Police Fatally Shoot Gunman Who Opened Fire At New York City Church Christmas Concert


Police shot and killed a gunman who opened fire at the end of a Christmas concert being held outside of a New York City cathedral on Sunday, numerous sources reported.

Three New York Police Department (NYPD) officers fired 15 shots at the unidentified man after he opened fire with two semi automatic handguns while yelling “kill me” at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, according to the Associated Press. The officers struck him at least once in the head, and the suspect was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he later died.

BREAKING: NYPD respond to shots fired at St. John the Divine Church in New York City @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/VC3GyNesVZ

— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) December 13, 2020

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that it was “by the grace of God” that no one besides the gunman was injured, according to the AP. Several officers were being examined for tinnitus, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The man reportedly was carrying a bag with gasoline, rope, knives, and a Bible, and had a lengthy criminal history. (RELATED: Supreme Court Orders New York To End COVID-19 Restrictions That Discriminate Against Churches, Synagogues)

What we know about the shooting at St John the Divine church so far:

A person who appeared to be mentally ill climbed the scaffolding inside the church during a Christmas service at about 4:00 pm. He began shooting a gun indiscriminately in the air. (Cont…)

— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 13, 2020

He was yelling that he wanted to be killed. Police arrived quickly. The suspect was shot. His condition is unclear but it appears he has died. No other individuals were injured. More soon.

— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 13, 2020

Officers responded to the church, located in Morningside Heights, at around 3:45 p.m. after residents called 911 to report an active shooter when the 45-minute caroling concert had finished, according to the AP. 

People were walking away once the concert concluded, and then began to run once the shots were heard. Parishioners reportedly walked out of the church with their hands up, ABC 7 reported

Police said the suspect went to the top of the steps where the concert was held and opened fire into the air, according to ABC 7. The suspect reportedly shot at police before the police returned fire. 

Our Carols for the Community event this afternoon was interrupted by an armed individual, who set off a round of gunfire into the air from our front steps. Thankfully, no injuries were reported among the attendees and the suspect is in custody.

— Cathedral of St. John the Divine (@StJohnDivineNYC) December 13, 2020

 No injuries were reported among the attendees of the event, the cathedral announced on Twitter.