Shortly after the conclusion of a Christmas caroling event, a gunman started shooting from a scaffold outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights on Sunday afternoon — but it appears no bystanders were injured.
Cops returned fire and critically injured the man during the shooting that occurred at about 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 13 outside the house of worship at the corner of West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
Paramedics removed the unidentified man to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital; some outlets have reported he is dead, but police have not yet confirmed his condition. The NYPD has also not yet established why he began firing shots.
According to eye witness accounts, the suspect held a pistol over his head, shooting into the air about 16 years while yelling ‘Shoot Me.’
Hundreds of bystanders, who gathered to watched the holiday caroling fled in all directions as officers moved in. The streets between West 111th and West 113th have been cordoned off from pedestrians and traffic while SWAT trucks, police cruisers, and ambulances remain on the scene as NYPD officials investigate.
No one else was injured by the gunfire, though two police officers wound up being treated for tinnitus.
According to City Councilman Mark Levine, it appears the gunman had scaled the cathedral’s scaffolding, from which he began firing “indiscriminately in the air.” The unidentified individual apparently challenged the cops to shoot him.
“He was yelling that he wanted to be killed,” Levine tweeted. “Police arrived quickly. The suspect was shot. His condition is unclear but it appears he has died. No other individuals were injured.”
The shooter caused fear and alarm at the cathedral, with participants in the concert being led away from the church with their hands up in the air.
The concert, featuring masked, socially-distanced members of the Cathedral Choir, took place on the cathedral steps at 3 p.m., and ended right around the time shots rang out.
The cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
This is a developing story; check with amNY.com later for further details.