Police officers stand guard outside of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on December 13, 2020, after a shooter opened fire outside the church.
Police officers stand guard outside of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on December 13, 2020, after a shooter opened fire outside the church.
Photo: AFP

A Christmas choral concert on the steps of a New York City cathedral took a horrifying turn on Sunday evening as a man began firing a gun, and was eventually shot down by the police. The shooting happened just before 4 pm on Sunday at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

According to reports, there had been several hundred revelers in the area for the 45-minute concert. The gunman struck as the event ended, sending people running down Amsterdam Avenue screaming and diving to the sidewalk. Officers who had been on hand to provide security for the event quickly moved in and the police fired around 15 shots at the man. Officials later said that nobody apart from the gunman had been shot in the altercation.

Police patrol outside of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on December 13, 2020, after a shooter opened fire outside the church
Police patrol outside of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on December 13, 2020, after a shooter opened fire outside the church
Photo: AFP

Shortly after this, the area was cordoned off, and the police issued an advisory asking people to avoid the area of West 112 Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan.

Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner of the City of New York later shared updates with the media, informing that the gunman had been struck in the head and was deceased.

"We have two firearms recovered...they are both semi-automatic firearms. Also recovered is a bag that we believe belong to the defendant. Inside this bag was a full can of gasoline, rope, wire, multiple knives, a bible and tape," he revealed.

"Our gratitude goes out to the first responders who were swift to take action in response to the shooting on the cathedral's front steps following sunday's carols for the community. We are grateful that no injuries were reported among attendees," the Cathedral wrote on its official website.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan also lauded the officers who had responded to the attack. "Today, NYPD cops ran into the line of fire to save the lives of innocent people. They’ll say they were “just doing their job,” but it’s their courageous hearts that compelled them to risk it all on behalf of everyone at St. John the Divine Cathedral. True heroes!" he tweeted.

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