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Gunman Opens Fire At NYC Cathedral Christmas Concert

New York, NY – A gunman opened fire during a Christmas concert on the steps of St. John the Divine Episcopal Cathedral in Harlem on Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred at about 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 13 just as a concert that featured the Cathedral Choir singing holiday carols on the front steps of the cathedral located at 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue was coming to an end, the New York Post reported.

That’s when a man carrying a pistol in each hand alighted to the top of the steps of the cathedral and began screaming and shooting into the air.

“He started shouting, ‘Kill me! Kill me!’ and shooting at the big metal door in the center [of the church],” a witness told the New York Post.

“At first, I thought it was either the end of the performance, like they made a loud noise [to close the event], or a tire that blew,” neighborhood resident Judy Romer said. “But it continued — the shooting — over and over.”

“It seemed like he was shooting for about a minute. Such a brazen act, taking advantage of such a peaceful audience,” Romer explained. “But it continued — the shooting — over and over.”

Security guards helped some of the attendees into the cathedral and shut the doors, the New York Post reported.

Caroline Murphy, who was there, said people fled down Amsterdam Avenue as the gunman began shooting.

“I started hearing loud booming shots and the blocks had been closed to traffic,” Murphy said. “I just kept hearing shots and I called the 911 dispatcher. The shooting continued, but you didn’t hear screaming.”

The gunman had a silver handgun in his right hand and a black handgun in his left hand, the New York Post reported.

A New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesperson said that police department received about a dozen 911 calls and officers who responded to the cathedral quickly spotted the shooter.

“He was shooting it up in the air and toward police,” a source high up in NYPD told the New York Post.

Romer said police ordered the gunman multiple times to put down his guns but he kept begging them to shoot and kill him.

Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that an NYPD sergeant who was there working security at the concert and an NYPD sergeant and detective from the 26th Precinct ultimately opened fire on the man at the top of the cathedral steps and stopped him.

Once the gunman was down, officers approached him yelling “Don’t move! Don’t move!”

The 52-year-old shooter was transported to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital where he was pronounced dead, the New York Post reported.

Nobody else was shot during the incident.

“You’ve seen three officers acting heroic: A sergeant, detective and police officer and engaging an armed perpetrator, putting themselves in harm’s way to pull people that have literally hiding behind these poles behind me caught in the crossfire,’’ NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters after the gunman had been neutralized.

“So it is by the grace of God today that we don’t have any one struck,” Commissioner Shea added.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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