Video of an armed gunman being fatally shot by NYPD officers emerged on Sunday after he began shooting during an outdoor Christmas concert at a New York City church.
The roughly four-minute video was uploaded to Facebook by someone who attended the concert with his family, which was held at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Harlem.
The gunman, who was dressed in black, can be heard shouting in the video, “kill me, kill me,” before officers fatally shot him on the cathedral steps.
Warning: Graphic content. BPR chose not to cover the video here because of its extreme content.
“I figured that I should take a video of this thing that could have been far worse than just the shooter getting shot and killed,” wrote Steven Wilson in the Facebook video post, adding he only started recording after he made sure that his family was safe.
Several shots can be heard in the video, some of which appear to have come from the gunman. Officers, as well as civilians, can also be seen taking cover behind garbage cans and street lampposts.
After the first shots were fired, the suspect took cover behind one of the cathedral’s large cement pillars located in front of the doors. Sirens can also be heard in the background as more officers arrived on-scene.
At one point, as more shots were fired, the suspect comes out from behind the pillar and shouts repeatedly, “Kill me! Kill me!” Not long after, the fatal shot is heard and the suspect falls, motionless.
“They got him, they got him,” says the man taking video of the scene as it unfolded.
Some bystanders and concert attendees weren’t exactly sure what was going on at first.
“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 told the New York Post “But it continued — the shooting — over and over.”
“I started hearing loud booming shots and the blocks had been closed to traffic,” Caroline Murphy, one of the witnesses who dialed 911, told the paper. “I just kept hearing shots and I called the 911 dispatcher. The shooting continued, but you didn’t hear screaming.”
At least one shot struck the gunman in the head, Fox News reported. After officers secured the scene, he was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said officers quickly responded to the scene. He said a community-affairs detective and an NYPD officer were in the area, while a sergeant stationed at nearby St. Luke’s Hospital responded as well. In all, 15 shots were fired at the gunman.
“I can tell you from the preliminary body camera – and again, this is quick – that we watched, you see three officers acting heroically, sergeant, detective, and police officer engaging an armed perpetrator, putting themselves in harm’s way to pull people that are literally hiding behind these poles behind me caught in the crossfire,” Shea told reporters. “So it is by the grace of God today that we don’t have anyone struck.”
In securing the scene, officers discovered a pair of semi-automatic handguns owned by the gunman. Also, they found a bag located a short distance away, believed to belong to the suspect, which contained a full can of gas, wire, rope, several knives, tape, and a Bible.
At present, police have not released the suspect’s name but Shea said he is believed to have a “lengthy criminal history.” Police were awaiting fingerprint-identification before publicly releasing his name.
The concert was the first public event at the cathedral since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
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