Police shoot dead gunman who opened fire outside NYC’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Police fatally shot a gunman who opened fire in front of a New York City cathedral during a Christmas concert on Sunday allegedly yelling that he wanted to be killed.

The man, who has not been identified, fired shots on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral in Harlem during a Christmas concert with carolers where a crowd of 400 people had gathered around 3.45pm.

The gunman, who wore a black jacket, white baseball cap, and red backpack, was seen with a gun in each hand ‘firing into the air’, but no one was injured in the shooting, police say. 

The gunman was shot in the head by police doing security for the event, hospitalized and died from his wounds, New York City police tell DailyMail.com.

Mark D. Levine, a city councilman who represents the district where the church is located, said the gunman appeared to be mentally ill and climbed scaffolding of the church before firing ‘indiscriminately in the air’, shouting that he wanted to be killed.  

A gunman was shot dead by responding officers after he opened fire on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral in Harlem during a Christmas show with singing carolers around 3.45pm

A gunman was shot dead by responding officers after he opened fire on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral in Harlem during a Christmas show with singing carolers around 3.45pm

A gunman was shot dead by responding officers after he opened fire on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral in Harlem during a Christmas show with singing carolers around 3.45pm 

The gunman pictured above holding two guns on the front steps of the church. He opened fire minutes after the concert had ended. Hundreds of people had attended the event, the first the church held since the start of the pandemic

The gunman pictured above holding two guns on the front steps of the church. He opened fire minutes after the concert had ended. Hundreds of people had attended the event, the first the church held since the start of the pandemic

The gunman pictured above holding two guns on the front steps of the church. He opened fire minutes after the concert had ended. Hundreds of people had attended the event, the first the church held since the start of the pandemic

The gunman was shot by responding officers, hospitalized and died from his wounds, New York City Police tell DailyMail.com.

The gunman was shot by responding officers, hospitalized and died from his wounds, New York City Police tell DailyMail.com.

The gunman was shot by responding officers, hospitalized and died from his wounds, New York City Police tell DailyMail.com.

The gunman was reportedly 'firing into the air', but no one was injured in the shooting, police say. Officers pictured moving in on the scene of the shooting on Sunday

The gunman was reportedly 'firing into the air', but no one was injured in the shooting, police say. Officers pictured moving in on the scene of the shooting on Sunday

The gunman was reportedly ‘firing into the air’, but no one was injured in the shooting, police say. Officers pictured moving in on the scene of the shooting on Sunday

Police pictured detaining the man who opened fire on the front steps of the cathedral

Police pictured detaining the man who opened fire on the front steps of the cathedral

Police pictured detaining the man who opened fire on the front steps of the cathedral

New York police officers pictured carring the gunman on a stretcher down the steps of St. John the Divine on Sunday after he opened fire

New York police officers pictured carring the gunman on a stretcher down the steps of St. John the Divine on Sunday after he opened fire

New York police officers pictured carring the gunman on a stretcher down the steps of St. John the Divine on Sunday after he opened fire 

When shots rang out the terrorized crowd fled from the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and ran for cover behind cars and trees

When shots rang out the terrorized crowd fled from the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and ran for cover behind cars and trees

When shots rang out the terrorized crowd fled from the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and ran for cover behind cars and trees

When shots rang out the terrorized crowd dispersed, some fleeing into the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, while others ran for cover behind cars.

Police doing security for the concert moved in quickly after he started to fire shots. 

A responding Emergency Services Unit officer allegedly shot the gunman and he was hospitalized at Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital where he died. 

‘He was shooting it up in the air and toward police,’ a high-ranking department source said to the New York Post

‘He started shouting, “Kill me! Kill me!” and shooting at the big metal door in the center [of the church],’ one witness said. 

It’s not immediately clear if he was trying to fire at people in the crowd. 

Police officers pictured moving in on the shooting scene in Harlem on Sunday

Police officers pictured moving in on the shooting scene in Harlem on Sunday

Police officers pictured moving in on the shooting scene in Harlem on Sunday

People pictured running into the street after shots were fired on Sunday

People pictured running into the street after shots were fired on Sunday

People pictured running into the street after shots were fired on Sunday

Police recovered two guns from the scene. The taped off shooting scene pictured above

Police recovered two guns from the scene. The taped off shooting scene pictured above

Police recovered two guns from the scene. The taped off shooting scene pictured above

Police patrol inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday after the attack

Police patrol inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday after the attack

Police patrol inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday after the attack

By evening there was still heavy police presence outside the cathedral

By evening there was still heavy police presence outside the cathedral

By evening there was still heavy police presence outside the cathedral

Police recovered two guns from the scene, according to the New York Daily News.

The church had hosted its special Christmas carol performance on its front steps at 3pm, the first public event since the pandemic. 

The shooting took place minutes after the concert ended, according to cathedral spokeswoman Lisa Schubert. 

‘It was just beautiful, and then at the end this person started shooting. Everybody is in shock. The shooter could have killed a lot of people. There were hundreds of people here and he shot at least 20 times,’ she said to the New York Times.

‘We had been planning this concert for weeks as a gift to the community, and the weather was beautiful, so the whole community was out, physically distanced with masks, people with dogs and people with babies. It was something like we haven’t seen since last March,’ she added.

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised NYPD for their speedy action on the scene saying: 'A peaceful holiday celebration on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine tonight was disrupted by a man wielding a gun, but the quick action of our NYPD officers kept the crowd safe'

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised NYPD for their speedy action on the scene saying: 'A peaceful holiday celebration on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine tonight was disrupted by a man wielding a gun, but the quick action of our NYPD officers kept the crowd safe'

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised NYPD for their speedy action on the scene saying: ‘A peaceful holiday celebration on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine tonight was disrupted by a man wielding a gun, but the quick action of our NYPD officers kept the crowd safe’

The cathedral of St. John the Divine shared this message after the shooting saying: '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 cathedral of St. John the Divine shared this message after the shooting saying: '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 cathedral of St. John the Divine shared this message after the shooting saying: ‘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’

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said her Chief of Staff and press secretary were at the concert, but were not harmed in the attack. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised NYPD for their speedy action on the scene. 

‘A peaceful holiday celebration on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine tonight was disrupted by a man wielding a gun, but the quick action of our NYPD officers kept the crowd safe. The suspect was shot and immediately taken to the hospital,’ he tweeted Sunday evening.

The cathedral condemned the shooting saying: ‘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. We are grateful to our first responders, and our prayers are with all those affected by this event,’ the cathedral added.

The name of the gunman has not been released and the motive behind the attack is not known. 

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