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MANHATTAN, N.Y. – A man was fatally shot by police Sunday afternoon after shots were fired near a crowd gathered as a Christmas concert on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights ended.

Officers responded to the cathedral just before 4 p.m., following up on a report of a man with two firearms, WABC reported.

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According to the TV station, the unidentified man fired upon officers as they arrived, and they returned fire. The suspect was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died a short time later.

“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,” Lisa Schubert, a cathedral spokeswoman who witnessed the incident, told The New York Times. “It was something like we haven’t seen since last March.”

Investigators have determined the man gained access to the top of the cathedral’s outdoor stairs, where Christmas carolers had gathered around 3 p.m., and then started shooting into the air.

Mark D. Levine, a city councilman who represents the Manhattan district where the cathedral is located, wrote on Twitter that the man appeared to be mentally ill and had climbed scaffolding at the church before firing “indiscriminately in the air” and yelling that he wanted to be killed.

Schubert confirmed to the Times that the shooting began minutes after the concert ended.

“It was just beautiful, and then at the end this person started shooting. Everybody is in shock,” she said. “The shooter could have killed a lot of people. There were hundreds of people here and he shot at least 20 times.”

The New York City Fire Department transported two people to St. Luke’s hospital, but no details have emerged on the second person transported from the scene of the shooting, the Times reported.

Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, wrote on Twitter that her chief of staff and press secretary were both at the church when the shooting took place and were safe.

“We don’t have a lot of information but our gratitude goes out to first responders,” Brewer said.