NYC cathedral shooter 'left anti-US note saying he wanted to take hostages' before cops gunned him down

NYC cathedral shooter 'left anti-US note saying he wanted to take hostages' before cops gunned him down

December 16, 2020

THE New York City cathedral shooter reportedly left an anti-US note saying he wanted to take hostages before cops gunned him down.

Luis Vasquez reportedly wrote a note that was found in his pocket detailing his plans, a senior law enforcement official told a local NBC affiliate.

The 52-year-old reportedly wrote that he was going to keep hostages unless the US, its banks and companies gave money to help the needy of Latin America.

He also highlighted that no one would be hurt if his demands were met, the outlet reported.

Vasquez also reportedly wrote he was angry at the "US regime which has committed robbery and more against the people of Latin America."

He penned that he did not think he would return to his Bronx apartment where he lived with his mother, the outlet reported.

Investigators are now pursuing "suicide by cop" as a leading theory, officials told the outlet.

Witnesses said the gunman appeared to be mentally ill and had climbed scaffolding at the church before firing "indiscriminately in the air" and yelling "kill me."

A video posted on social media showed officers crouched behind trash cans yelling “drop the gun!” and firing carefully aimed shots at the man for at least a minute and half as he darted in and out from behind a pillar.

Some terrified civilians were seen at the bottom of the steps, clutching each other during the gunfire.

After being shot he was rushed to a local hospital where he died.

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the suspect, who was not identified, was struck at least once in the head during the gun battle, with police firing a total of 15 rounds at him.

“It is by the grace of God today,” he said, that no one besides the gunman was struck.

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, Shea said.

A 45-minute "Carols for the Community" choir concert had finished moments before the guman opened fire.

Streets turned into chaos as hundreds of people fled the scene, running down Amsterdam Avenue screaming and diving to the sidewalk.

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

"He was shooting without aiming at anybody," she told AFP, adding that the man was shouting "shoot me, kill me".

Cathedral spokeswoman Lisa Schubert told The New York Times: "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."

The Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York tweeted a statement following the shooting.

It read: "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.

"Our Carols for the Community event this afternoon was interrupted by an armed individual, who set off a round of gunfire into the air from our front steps. 

"Thankfully, no injuries were reported among the attendees."

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