Gunman Dead After Shooting At New York City Cathedral
(CNN) — Police fatally shot a gunman at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City following a Christmas concert Sunday afternoon, according to police.
A choir was lingering atop the cathedral steps when the suspect entered the scene with two handguns and opened fire into the air, according to police.
Two NYPD officers and a sergeant were present and opened fire, striking the gunman in the head, a police source said. Officers who were on site at the time of the shooting were hired to be there for the concert.
“There was some kind of concert at the steps (of the church),” Lt. John Grimpel, an NYPD spokesman, told CNN. “There was an individual firing shots. Officers that were at the scene engaged him.”
The gunman — a man in his 50s — was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Hospital late Sunday afternoon, a law enforcement source told CNN.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea hailed the officers as heroes during a press conference Sunday.
Two semi-automatic firearms were retrieved from the scene along with a bag believed to belong to the suspect containing a full can of gasoline, wire, rope, multiple knives and a bible, Shea said.
The suspect was yelling “kill me,” according to multiple witnesses on the scene, Shea said.
“Thankfully, none of the attendees were hit,” Isadora Wilkenfeld, a spokesperson for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, said in a statement. “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.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer addressed the incident via Twitter: “We don’t have a lot of information but our gratitude goes out to first responders. People should keep the area clear as police continue their investigation.”
Two of Brewer’s staff members — her chief of staff and press secretary — were present during the shooting but were unharmed, she said.
The NYPD will continue to review body camera footage and the incident is under investigation, Shea said.
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