A man was shot dead by police after he opened fire near crowds who had gathered to watch carol-singing outside a New York church on Sunday, December 13.
New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea said no one was injured during the shooting on the steps of the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Manhattan.
A choir that had just finished Christmas carolling at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was lingering atop the cathedral steps when the suspect, who had two handguns, approached the church doors and opened fire into the air, police said.
The shooting occurred outside the landmark cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of New York, located at Amsterdam Avenue and West 112th Street, shortly after an outdoor choir performance on the steps of the church had ended.
The suspect was yelling "kill me," according to multiple witnesses on the scene, Dermot Shea said.
He said a motive for the shooting is not yet clear.
An AFP journalist who witnessed the incident said she saw the man firing shots from the church steps as a few hundred people started to disperse when the outdoor choral concert finished shortly before 4:00 pm (2100 GMT).
"I heard two or three booms that were really loud," she said.
"I looked up and maybe ten meters away from me on the stairs there was a guy shooting, I saw the bursts of gunfire coming out of the gun and I just started to run away. I just ran for my life. He was shooting without aiming at anybody," she added.
Witness Martha Stolley said the man fired eight to ten shots before a police officer shot him.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.
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, said New York police commissioner Dermot Shea.
Police officers had recovered two firearms from the scene after the shooting.