New York Police Stop Active Shooter Outside Manhattan Church
New York, NY – Officers with the New York Police Department were credited Sunday for preventing a mass shooting in Manhattan at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.
Multiple people called 911 to report an active shooter outside the church after an outdoor Christmas caroling concert Sunday around 3:45pm. The carolers ran inside the church when the suspect, who was reportedly at the top steps of the entrance, started shooting.
A crowd of hundreds of people were walking away when the shooting started.
Upon police arrival, the man started yelling, “Kill me!” while shooting at police. Officers on scene fired at the man 15 times before he dropped and was declared no longer to be a threat. The suspect, so far only identified as a 50-year-old man, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but he later died. He was reportedly shot at least once in the head.
After approaching the suspect, police reportedly found two semiautomatic guns belonging to the suspect. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said police also recovered a full can of gasoline, rope, knives and a bible. Shea also said the suspect has a lengthy criminal history.
Shea said of the suspect’s shooting, “It is by the grace of God today that we don’t have anyone struck.”
A captured video of the incident showed a few bystanders attempting to hide behind a street sign and some other small barricades in the area. The video also showed an officer bravely stepping out from behind cover right when the suspect dropped to the ground to help the civilians get out of the area.
Shea said that several officers were evaluated for tinnitus, a ringing in the ear, likely due to the echo of the shooting in the streets against the large church building.
A cathedral spokeswoman, Lisa Schubert, told The New York Times, “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.”