New York City police fatally shot a suspect who opened fire using two handguns in a suspected suicide by cop incident.
The incident took place at about 4 p.m. on Sunday at the end of a Christmas choral concert at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine Church. Congregants were dispersing in their hundreds when the gunman opened fire, causing grave panic and hysterical fleeing.
“It was just beautiful, and then at the end, this person started shooting. Everybody is in shock,” a cathedral spokeswoman, Lisa Schubert, told The New York Times. “The shooter could have killed a lot of people. There were hundreds of people here, and he shot at least 20 times.”
The 50-year-old gunman, adorned in black, with a mask and a white baseball cap, yelled “kill me” in an apparent suicide by cop attack. He carried a silver pistol in one hand, while the other hand held a black handgun. He also had a can of gasoline, knives, tape, wire, and a Bible.
He hid behind the stone column at the top of the staircase before emerging with guns blazing. Police ordered him to drop the weapon before a police sergeant fired 15 rounds, killing him instantly, according to New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Although it was not clear if he aimed at civilians or the police, nobody was injured during the incident. The church’s statement on Facebook says he “set off a round of gunfire into the air from our front steps.”
The unnamed suspect had a long criminal record, and the police are yet to establish his motives, although suicide appears to be the most likely reason.
“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,” the Church’s statement continued. “We will remain strong, together, and serve as a safe space for prayer, meditation, and celebration during the upcoming holiday season.”
Ironically, a suicidal, prohibited criminal could carry a brazen attack in broad daylight in gun-controlled New York having the Red Flag Law, which took effect on August 24, 2019. The highly-publicized signing ceremony took place on February 25, 2019, and was attended by high-profile Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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