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Terrifying new footage shows gunman firing into the air on the steps of Manhattan's St. John the Divine Cathedral during choir concert before NYPD cops shoot him dead

 Dramatic bodycam and surveillance footage has been released by the NYPD from  the scene of a shooting days before Christmas in New York. 

The shooting that sent people attending a choir concert running for cover took place on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan last December as a lone gunman suddenly started firing.

Footage from an NYPD officer coupled with several frames from nearby street surveillance cameras capture the terrifying moment the gunman fired multiple shots from the cathedral steps.   

The shooting started after the suspect, who was identified as 52-year-old Luis Vasquez, stepped out of a line for those wanting to get inside the house of prayer. 


The suspect in a white cap and red backpack can be seen waiting in line on the cathedral steps

The suspect in a white cap and red backpack can be seen waiting in line on the cathedral steps

In another view from across the street, people can be seen fleeing as the gunman fires his guns

In another view from across the street, people can be seen fleeing as the gunman fires his guns

The suspect continues firing his weapons as people crouch down behind parked cars for safety

The suspect continues firing his weapons as people crouch down behind parked cars for safety

One police officer, Gutierrez, headed towards the suspect and ordered him to drop his weapon

One police officer, Gutierrez, headed towards the suspect and ordered him to drop his weapon

As the firing continues, NYPD Detective Harper enters the fray in an attempt to stop the firing

As the firing continues, NYPD Detective Harper enters the fray in an attempt to stop the firing

Finally, Sergeant Cunningham of the NYPCD also sprints to assist his fellow officers

Finally, Sergeant Cunningham of the NYPCD also sprints to assist his fellow officers 

The three NYPD cops responded by firing 15 shots - one struck the suspect in the head

The three NYPD cops responded by firing 15 shots - one struck the suspect in the head 

Gunman, 52-year-old Luis Vasquez, fired two pistols into the air. He opened fire minutes after the concert had ended

Gunman, 52-year-old Luis Vasquez, fired two pistols into the air. He opened fire minutes after the concert had ended

A gunman was shot dead by responding officers after he opened fire on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral. Hundreds of people had attended the Christmas event, the first the church held since the start of the pandemic

A gunman was shot dead by responding officers after he opened fire on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral. Hundreds of people had attended the Christmas event, the first the church held since the start of the pandemic

The gunman, who wore a black jacket, white baseball cap and red backpack, walked up to the top of the steps, pulled out two handguns and fired several times into the air. 

A crowd of around 30 people were sent running in all directions in sheer panic. 


Others who were closer to the gunman crouched down, took cover behind trash cans, lamp posts and parked cars or laid flat on the concrete. 

Several NYPD officers were already on the scene including Detective Jason Harper and Officer Daurys Gutierrez who both opened fire in response. 

Police officers are pictured moving in on the shooter

Police officers are pictured moving in on the shooter

When shots rang out, the terrorized crowd fled from the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and ran for cover behind cars and trees

When shots rang out, the terrorized crowd fled from the church, located on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and ran for cover behind cars and trees

People pictured running into the street after shots were fired

People pictured running into the street after shots were fired 

Gunshots echo outside of New York City cathedral
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On the video, both can be heard yelling at Vasquez the drop the guns but only Guttierez was wearing his body camera at the time of the incident. 

Meanwhile, as the drama unfolded around them, the officers attempted to get people to safety and out of harms way by hurrying them across the road which had been closed for the cathedral's concert.  

While the two officers attempted to keep the situation contained, the pair were joined by NYPD Sergeant, Kensington Cunningham.

Together, the three NYPD members fired 15 shots at Vasquez.

Witnesses have said Vasquez was yelling 'kill me' to the police officers, as the shooting unfolded. 

NYPD has released bodycam footage of the shooting that took place in December on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

NYPD has released bodycam footage of the shooting that took place in December on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Two weapons were fired by the gunman. Both were semiautomatic firearms
A view of one of the suspect's guns above

Two weapons were fired by the gunman. Both were semiautomatic firearms

The gunman was reportedly 'firing into the air', but no one else was injured in the shooting

The gunman was reportedly 'firing into the air', but no one else was injured in the shooting

Police officers are seen outside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

Police officers are seen outside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

One of the bullets struck the 52-year-old in the head and killing him. Nobody else was injured during the shooting.   

The church had just hosted its special Christmas carol performance on its front steps in its first public event since the pandemic suspended normal services.

The shooting took place minutes after the concert ended.

'It was just beautiful, and then at the end this person started shooting. Everybody is in shock. The shooter could have killed a lot of people. There were hundreds of people here and he shot at least 20 times,' cathedral spokeswoman Lisa Schubert said to the New York Times at the time.

Bodycam footage shows the NYPD officers making their way up the cathedral steps past music stands where a carol concert had been taking place

Bodycam footage shows the NYPD officers making their way up the cathedral steps past music stands where a carol concert had been taking place 

Officers instructed the suspect to drop his weapons but he refused forcing the police to shoot

Officers instructed the suspect to drop his weapons but he refused forcing the police to shoot

Cops also recovered a backpack that contained a full can of gasoline, rope, wire, multiple knives, a Bible and tape

Cops also recovered a backpack that contained a full can of gasoline, rope, wire, multiple knives, a Bible and tape

'We had been planning this concert for weeks as a gift to the community, and the weather was beautiful, so the whole community was out, physically distanced with masks, people with dogs and people with babies. It was something like we haven’t seen since last March,' she added.

The cathedral condemned the shooting saying: 'It is horrible that our choir’s gift to New York City, a much-needed afternoon of song and unity, was cut short by this shocking act of violence.'

'We will remain strong, together, and serve as a safe space for prayer, meditation and celebration during the upcoming holiday season. We are grateful to our first responders, and our prayers are with all those affected by this event,' the cathedral added.

Police pictured detaining the man who opened fire on the front steps of the cathedral

Police pictured detaining the man who opened fire on the front steps of the cathedral

New York police officers pictured carrying the gunman on a stretcher down the steps

New York police officers pictured carrying the gunman on a stretcher down the steps

Police recovered two guns from the scene. The taped off shooting scene is pictured above

Police recovered two guns from the scene. The taped off shooting scene is pictured above

Before the chaos: A view of the social distanced concert and onlookers before the shooting on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral

Before the chaos: A view of the social distanced concert and onlookers before the shooting on the front steps of St. John the Divine Cathedral

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