Gunman shot dead by New York police after Christmas concert

The man shouted 'kill me' as he fired from church steps

A man was shot dead by police after he opened fire near crowds who had gathered to watch a carol concert outside a New York church on Sunday.

Witnesses said the gunman, who has not been identified, shouted "kill me" as he fired.

New York Police Department commissioner Dermot Shea said no one else was hurt during the shooting on the steps of the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Manhattan. Police recovered two handguns and a bag containing petrol, knives, ropes and a Bible believed to belong to the man.

Three police officers fired a total of 15 shots, the commissioner said.

Emergency medical personnel pull a stretcher up to the scene of a shooting at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in New York. A man was shot by police after shots rang out at the end of a Christmas choral concert on the steps of the Manhattan cathedral Sunday afternoon. The shooting happened just before 4 p.m. at the church which is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and seat of its bishop. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

"The defendant was struck at least once in the head and is deceased," he said.

A 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 4pm.

"I heard two or three booms that were really loud," she said. "I looked up and maybe 10 metres away from me on the stairs there was a guy shooting.

"I saw the bursts of gunfire coming out of the gun and I started to run away. I just ran for my life."

Witness Martha Stolley said the man fired eight to 10 shots before a police officer shot him.

"He was shooting without aiming at anybody," she told AFP. She said that the man was shouting: "Shoot me, kill me."