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Shooting at Manhattan cathedral during Christmas choral concert

‘It’s by the grace of God,’ New York’s police commissioner stated, that nobody apart from the person who had opened fired with two pistols was struck.

NEW YORK — A person was fatally shot by police on the steps of a landmark New York Metropolis cathedral Sunday after he started firing two semiautomatic handguns on the finish of a Christmas choral live performance, police stated.

The gunfire started simply earlier than four p.m. on the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, mom church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

A 45-minute live performance held on the cathedral steps had simply concluded and a crowd of a number of hundred individuals was drifting away when the gunman began capturing, sending individuals working down Amsterdam Avenue screaming and diving to the sidewalk.

A detective, a sergeant and a police officer who had been on the occasion fired 15 rounds, killing the person, stated New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“It’s by the grace of God at present,” he stated, that nobody apart from the gunman was struck.

The gunman was wearing black together with his face obscured by a white baseball cap and a face masks. He held a silver pistol in a single hand and a black one within the different as he stepped from behind a stone column on the high of the staircase.

Witnesses informed police the person was yelling “kill me” as he fired, Shea stated. The person’s identify was not instantly launched by police.

The person had a prolonged prison historical past and was carrying a backpack containing a can of gasoline, rope, wire, tape, knives and a well-worn Bible, Shea stated. The police commissioner referred to as the actions of the officers “heroic.”

It wasn’t clear if the gunman was aiming at individuals or firing within the air.

Earlier than the gunfire started, the live performance featured members of the cathedral choir standing far aside on the stone steps sporting masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was simply lovely, after which on the finish this particular person began capturing. Everyone is in shock,” a cathedral spokeswoman, Lisa Schubert, informed The New York Occasions. “The shooter might have killed lots of people. There have been a whole lot of individuals right here and he shot a minimum of 20 instances.”

“It’s horrible that our choir’s reward to New York Metropolis, a much-needed afternoon of music and unity, was minimize quick by this stunning act of violence,” cathedral spokeswoman Iva Benson stated by electronic mail.

The cathedral is likely one of the world’s largest. Development started in 1892 and continues to be incomplete. The church has been related to many New York luminaries and notable occasions over its lengthy historical past. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a trustee. It hosted the memorial providers for puppeteer Jim Henson and choreographer Alvin Ailey, and audio system over time together with South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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