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Gunman Killed After Opening Fire at NY Cathedral Choir Concert in Apparent Suicide by Cop

By Ted Shaffrey and Mary Esch, AP

A man was fatally shot by police on the steps of a landmark New York City cathedral Sunday after he began firing two semiautomatic handguns at the end of a Christmas choral concert, police said.

The gunfire began just before 4 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

A 45-minute concert held on the cathedral steps had just concluded and a crowd of several hundred people was drifting away when the gunman started shooting, sending people running down Amsterdam Avenue screaming and diving to the sidewalk.

A detective, a sergeant and a police officer who were at the event fired 15 rounds, killing the man, said New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“It is by the grace of God today,” he said, that no one besides the gunman was struck.

The gunman was dressed in black with his face obscured by a white baseball cap and a face mask. He held a silver pistol in one hand and a black one in the other as he stepped from behind a stone column at the top of the staircase.

Witnesses told police the man was yelling “kill me” as he fired, Shea said. The man’s name was not immediately released.

The man had a lengthy criminal history and was carrying a backpack containing a can of gasoline, rope, wire, tape, knives and a well-worn Bible, Shea said. The police commissioner called the actions of the officers “heroic.”

It wasn’t clear if the gunman was aiming at people or firing in the air.

New York Cathedral Shooter Killed

New York police officers move in on the scene of a shooting at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

A video posted on social media by one bystander showed officers crouched behind trash cans yelling “drop the gun!” and firing carefully aimed shots at the man for at least a minute and half as he darted in and out from behind a pillar.

Some terrified civilians lay prone at the bottom of the steps, clutching each other during the gunfire. Others cowered behind a lamp post. They ran for safety after the gunman was felled by an officer’s shot.

Before the gunfire began, the concert featured members of the cathedral choir standing far apart on the stone steps wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.”

“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,” cathedral spokeswoman Iva Benson said by email.

 

comments

  1. avatar former water walker says:

    Yeah horrible…that you can’t carry a gat in NYC unless you’re “connected”.

    1. avatar Debbie W. says:

      I recall some pompous two-bit democRat preacher in a topic on this forum who maybe a candidate for the US Senate in GA was bent out of shape over at the idea of church goers having guns just in case someone tries to murder them during prayer, etc.

      Let it be known…If you are a Gun Control Zealot reading this you are in camp with other filth that savors the idea of a disarmed populous…Filth such as murderers, rapists, kidnappers, thieves, perverts, jack booted racists, jack booted nazis, tyrants, child molesters and the democRat Party. When it comes to defending Constitutional Rights against the aforementioned sickos all perps receive equal treatment.

      1. avatar Jeffrey Hunt says:

        You may wish to remember there are plenty of Democrats and left leaning folks who are pro gun, and many Republicans and conservatives who are not. Blanket statements are not inclusive, and in no way encourages others to join the pro gun side. Many of my lefty Democrat neighbors here in the actual city of Detroit are pro gun.

    2. avatar Country Boy says:

      I guess the shooter didn’t read the “Gun Free Zone” signs….amirite?

      Now the dems will call for ban of semi auto handguns no doubt.

    3. avatar Connie in KC says:

      California officials defy ICE detainer, release convicted child murderer
      State’s sanctuary policies have put criminals back on the streets say immigration officials

      Seems pointless to shoot him, when some jurisdictions just let convicted killers free. Is this a great country or what?

  2. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    Only 15 shots is very restrained for NYPD.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Restraint…(snort, chuckle).

      What I don’t understand is if the deceased was clearly announcing his desire to be killed, then his main interest was in being shot, not shooting others. So why didn’t any of the uniforms attempt to “beanbag” him with a LTL weapon? Instead there was the classic “Suspect down, no pulse, Code 4, attaboy everyone”.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Edit/Add:

        Don’t get me wrong…if a specific moment occurred in which the deceased presented a clear and imminent danger to anyone, then so be it. I mean, LEOs are certainly on edge today after 2020’s Summer Of Love and the mostly peaceful protests, surely to be followed by 2021’s mostly peaceful Inauguration Day on Jan 20.

        But still…don’t any NYPD LEOs have less-than-lethals?

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          ”I mean, LEOs are certainly on edge today after 2020’s Summer Of Love and the mostly peaceful protests, surely to be followed by 2021’s mostly peaceful Inauguration Day on Jan 20.”

          We have a rough idea of what may happen. DC had a ‘warm-up’ of what can be expected for the inaugural on Saturday night :

          “Four people were stabbed and one shot in the stomach as protests against the election result descended into violence on Saturday night.

          Donald Trump flew over the Washington DC protest in his helicopter as beneath him a crowd of around 15,000 flag-waving, baton-brandishing masked men and women massed.”

          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/13/proud-boys-antifa-clash-trump-supporters-protest-election-result/

          “Mostly peaceful protestors”, indeed… 😉

        2. avatar drunkEODguy says:

          Lets be real, there’s now reality in which a guy blazing away with two very live handguns at a crowd of bystanders. If I’m a cop there I’m not sitting there and waiting to asses the guys accuracy to see if he really wants to shoot the crowd, or he’s just shooting over their heads so he can catch a bullet, or he is shooting over their heads but is actually just a shitty shot and does indeed want to kill some to go to the next life with him. Were police to try to use what are somewhat reliable less lethal means while a potential mass murderer is attacking me and my loved ones I’d be pretty upset

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Lets be real,…”

          Yes, let’s.

          Is this not the perfect example of why social workers should have been sent instead of cops? The shooter obviously needed someone to talk to, someone to show the innumerable ways the shooter could find the courage and strength to resolve whatever emotional issues drove him to despair.

          Or maybe the shooter could have demanded a “second opinion” provided by a different set of social workers. And, if talk therapy failed, then the cops could be called in to provide a kinetic solution.

        4. avatar Joseph says:

          Ron White was right. You don’t try to use less than lethal on a fucker who is popping caps.

      2. avatar Jim from LI says:

        Suspect holding 2 handguns. YOU charge him with your bean bags, we’ll wait.

      3. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “So why didn’t any of the uniforms attempt to “beanbag” him with a LTL weapon?”

        They should have tried to shoot the gun out of his hand. Or wound him in the leg. Cops have shotguns immediately available. Why didn’t one of them just fire two shots into the air?

        1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          @Sam

          Thanks for the morning guffaw!!

          …and the reminder of what a dripping putz Biden is.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Thanks for the morning guffaw!!”

          Happy to be here, grateful for the opportunity, proud to serve.

        3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          Nice!

          Every day a Holiday, every meal a banquet and every fifth round a tracer!

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Every day a Holiday, every meal a banquet and every fifth round a tracer!”

          I like it. It’s mine, now.

      4. avatar Hannibal says:

        Preface: are you being sarcastic?

        First, while cops may carry around dedicated less-lethal weapons like beanbag shotguns in their car, at protests or on special assignments (maybe as part of a tact team) they aren’t carrying them around on foot. The liklihood of having to wrestle with someone is a ton higher than needing to use a beanbag round. There’s also only so much crap you can expect cops to walk around carrying and still be able to function as cops. Imagine the horror if a cop were to try and interview someone while having a long gun strapped to his back, even if it’s a beanbag shotgun or direct-impact launcher.

        Second… someone willing to start shooting at or near a crowd of people in an attempt to ‘suicide by cop’ is not necessarily unwilling to shoot someone to get that same effect. At what point in the encounter is it wise to stop and conduct a psychological profile of the suspect? If he really wants suicide, is it the worst thing that can happen if he dies? If he’s actually willing to shoot someone else, wouldn’t the worst thing to be to wait until he does it?

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Sooo…did you read my Edit/Add comment? I’m guessing not.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          I read it before and, just to be sure, read it again, now- it doesn’t add anything.

          Yes, the NYPD has less lethal weapons. No, they are not immediately available for patrolmen (other than pepper spray, batons and MAYBE tasers if they’ve started issuing them below SGTs) and- more importantly- are not an appropriate option when a suspect is shooting guns.

          Someone firing guns wildly in such a situation is an immediate threat. There is no “specific moment” involved. I thought you were being sarcastic because the idea is ludicrous. What margin of error does someone have to miss by to be considered NOT an ‘imminent threat’? What if someone hasn’t yet shot, do you have to wait until they do? What if they’re super inaccurate but trying their best? Do they get a free pass to shoot someone if they yell ‘kill me’ first? What happens if the handicapped person standing there is the one shot? Are you going to applaud the restraint of the police by letting that bystander get killed because, until that moment, the man firing guns hadn’t hit anyone? What if he aims a gun at someone but it turns out not to be loaded?

          At what point do you expect cops- or anyone acting against an armed suspect- to be mind readers?

  3. avatar Rick James says:

    Que gun control in 3, 2, 1

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      You know, if suicide was legal, we wouldn’t have problems like this, he could’ve just offed himself at home.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “You know, if suicide was legal, we wouldn’t have problems like this, he could’ve just offed himself at home.”

        Thinking such incidents are not just about suicide, but rather making a grand statement, “Tell them Willie Boy was here !!! Now, you can’t ignore me.”.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        “You know, if suicide was legal, we wouldn’t have problems like this, he could’ve just offed himself at home”

        No it would not. Because these sick people like all the attention they are getting. That they never got in life. Rock stars who kill themselves do it in total seclusion.

  4. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “A detective, a sergeant and a police officer who were at the event fired 15 rounds, killing the man,…”

    The suicide requestor was probably lucky he got hit at all.

    1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

      A detective,a sergeant and a patrolman…….sounds like a bar joke.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “A detective,a sergeant and a patrolman…….sounds like a bar joke.”

        Astute observation; wish it were mine.

        1. avatar Pb_fan59 says:

          News update… since a church function was in session, it was deemed to be a MASS shooting. Also, shooter died due to Covid-19 complications, since he was wearing a facemask.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “News update… since a church function was in session, it was deemed to be a MASS shooting. ”

          Nicely done !

  5. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    “…carefully aimed shots …” That’s a new one for the NYPD…in lieu of their usual mag dumps exacerbated by a 12 pound trigger.

    The shooter got his heartfelt desire, the anti-gun crowd got their desire, no innocents hit by PoPo fire, the MSM will report it as a mass shooting (just no hits), DeBlasio will continue his pandering, the three Officers involved have a new “no shit I was there” story to tell…everybody is a winner!

    (is a /sarc tag necessary?)

    1. avatar No one of Consequence says:

      Re the New York triggers..

      If you go to the Cody Firearms Museum, part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY, you will find an interactive exhibit allowing you to try the triggers of various handguns. These include (iirc) a percussion cap pistol with a literally “feather-touch” release, all the way up to a Glock with a NY trigger.

      It’s, simply, horrifying and instructive to watch people struggling to pull that monstrosity … both in terms of what it did to their aim (just looking at the barrel wandering around), and their reactions afterwards.

      The exhibit, by the way, was sponsored by Timney.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “If you go to the Cody Firearms Museum, part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY, you will find an interactive exhibit allowing you to try the triggers of various handguns.”

        I have *got* to get out there and see that.

        Another bucket list item… 😉

      2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        @No One

        The 12# NYPD “special” trigger is an abomination and may have contributed to the many “collateral” civilian woundings when the NYPD has dumped their mags on miscreants.

        I have a Walther PPK/S in .22 LR. As measured on a Timney High Range Trigger Tension Scale the SA pull is a moderate 5.5#…the DA is a “less-moderate” 22# (I was worried that it was going to max out the scale).

        It’s fun (and a bit cruel) to give it to someone who is not experienced with excessive trigger pulls and watching them (almost) sprain a finger tying to shoot DA. Arguably the worst DA pull of any handgun that I know of.

      3. avatar enuf says:

        Spent a day in the Cody museum about 35 years ago. Wish I could go back, spend several days or a week there. Amazing collection, you cannot see it one day!!!

  6. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    Fake news. Never happened. Guns are illegal in NY and that prevents anyone form having one.

  7. avatar busybeef says:

    How did he get a gun in the gun control utopia of New York?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “How did he get a gun in the gun control utopia of New York?”

      Smuggled in an unsuppressed, invisible ghost gun. Undetectable until shots fired. That’s why we need to ban guns we cannot see.

    2. avatar Darkman says:

      He was two fisted one in each hand.

  8. avatar Jim Warren says:

    Gun in his right hand is a Jennings. Definitely suicide. lol

  9. avatar Anymouse says:

    I don’t understand why NYPD issued gun licenses to a man with an extensive criminal history. If you don’t have a license, you can’t get a gun in NY, right?

  10. avatar Brodirt says:

    Where’s the dolt Biden with his “why cant they just shoot them in the leg” comment?

  11. avatar Prndll says:

    I need someone (preferably a liberal) here to explain to all of us how ANY ban on AR15’s would have had ANY affect on this at all.

    We need a valid explanation as to how defunding police would have resulted in something good happening here.

    An explanation as to why this animal was let out of his cage might help aswell.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’ll try one! How about, if we had defunded the police none of this would have happened since “suicide by cop” would no longer work, with no cops. Just think of the lives saved!

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        (smile)

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          I have been saying for the last two or three years that the police should be disarmed.

        2. avatar Prndll says:

          I guess you guys would prefer that he take lives.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Prndll, would you do the job unarmed?

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Prndll, that comment was meant for Chris.

  12. avatar Wiregrass says:

    ““It is by the grace of God today,” he said, that no one besides the gunman was struck.”

    That’s especially true if they used their NYPD issued service weapons.

  13. avatar Montana Actual says:

    At least he cared enough about people to wear his mask…

    1. avatar EpsteinDidNOTKillHimself says:

      I had a similar thought, but more along the sarcastic line.

    2. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      THAT made me LOL.

  14. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    When I see these things I always wonder why the subject doesn’t just kill himself and be done with it. Why put the burden on someone else? I mean, suicide by cop or suicide by his own hand, I doubt God makes a distinction.

  15. avatar DaveL says:

    The gunman was dressed in black with his face obscured by a white baseball cap and a face mask.

    I’m just glad he wasn’t wearing a MAGA hat or mask. Since both were instead displaying the flag of the Dominican Republic, they magically become “a while baseball cap and a face mask”.

  16. avatar MLee says:

    Why do these whack jobs always shoot up churches? I had a neighbor decades ago go all nutzoid and shoot up the Gonzaga University church in Spokane. He too was gunned down by the cops, a happy ending and all that.

  17. avatar NORDNEG says:

    He must of been white or you wouldn’t have heard about this.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      He wore his mask. White Hispanic? White Arab? White Persian? White African?

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        Doesn’t matter. Of pale complexion. So he’s obviously inherently racist.

  18. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Once again having good guys with guns at a church event saved the day.

    1. avatar Prndll says:

      But they are cops.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Prndll, ok this comment is for you. Not every LEO is always a good guy, but most are. I wish I had a $100 bill for everytime I heard, “Thank God you’re here!”

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    The poor misunderstood gunman was merely trying to maintain social distancing when he fell in a hail of bullets fired by racist police.

    Wait. The gunman was white? Shoot that murdering b#[email protected]!

  20. avatar Will Drider says:

    The criminal’s mask featured the flag of the Dominican Republic. Curious?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It’s all they had at the bodega.

  21. avatar enuf says:

    Seeing a mix of handguns with the NYPD in the various news photos. Some are clearly the usual Glocks issued by the department. Some are stainless, so maybe the Sig P226 or Smith & Wesson 5946 that some officers still carry. All are 9mm, no .45’s allowed there. And only 12 pound triggers.

  22. avatar Wood says:

    Cause of death: coronavirus

  23. avatar HP says:

    Thank goodness he had his mask on, masks keep us safe. It’s science. He clearly believed in science.

  24. avatar ... says:

    All the shit they want to stop with regulations tends to happen in the most regulated places. They tend have the gal to claim that it was because other places were not regulated too.

  25. avatar RedFlaggedandBagged says:

    Dropped Taurus MilPros have killed more people than CONVID1984.

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