No civilians struck during New York Cathedral shooting, Bible found : Commissioner Shea
New York/Sputnik: No civilians appear to have been injured in the shooting in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters.
"It is by the grace of God today that we don’t have anyone struck," Shea said at a Sunday press conference broadcast on Twitter.
According to the commissioner, the shooting started at 03:45 p.m. local time (20:45 GMT) on Sunday, on the steps in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine after an annual holiday event.
"We have a total of 15 shots fired by our three members of the service, this is preliminary at this time, we have multiple shots fired by the defendant. The defendant at this point was struck at least once in the head and deceased, he was removed to the hospital around the corner," Shea said.
Earlier, an NYPD spokesperson told Sputnik that the shooter was deceased and that several police officers were delivered to city hospitals for medical evaluation after the shooting.
"We have two firearms recovered," Commissioner Shea said at the Sunday press conference, adding that they were semi-automatic firearms. "Also recovered is a bag that we believe belonged to the defendant. Inside this bag was a full can of gasoline, rope, wire, multiple knives, a Bible," Shea said.
According to the police chief, the motif behind the shooting is unknown at this time, but police have a "tentative idea" and are now following up leads.
"Multiple witnesses are telling our detectives that he [shooter] was yelling ‘Kill me!’" Shea told reporters, adding that the suspect had a criminal history.
A cathedral guard told Sputnik earlier on Sunday that the situation was back to normal and calm when he started his shift about one hour after the shooting, at 5 p.m. local time.