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Man Shoots Himself at Cathedral in N.Y.

April 04, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — A man who said he was depressed shot himself in the head Wednesday in the parish house of St. Patrick's Cathedral after talking with a priest, authorities and church officials said.

The man, covered in blood, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was listed in extremely critical condition.

Police gave no motive for the shooting. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the man wrote a note while talking to the priest that said he wanted to be buried in an Armenian cemetery.

Authorities said they had not determined the man's identity. No identification was found in his wallet. Police said they planned to obtain his fingerprints in hopes of learning his name.

His injuries were so severe that authorities initially reported he had died, but police said later that he had been revived at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The priest, identified only as Father Mike, was shaken but apparently not hurt. Police had not interviewed him as of Wednesday evening.

The gunman appeared in the rectory reception area about 2:20 p.m., waited for a priest to be summoned, then went with the priest into a room, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

The man talked about the quality of his life and said he didn't want to live anymore, according to a police source who spoke on condition of anonymity. The man also made statements that caused the priest to fear for his own life, the source said.

Police and church officials said the man asked for a pencil and paper, wrote a note, handed it to the priest and then pulled a gun from his waistband.

The priest backed out of the room and, as he warned the others in the office area, the man shot himself, police said.

Police said the weapon was a .357-caliber Ruger, which had five bullets when it was recovered.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg met Wednesday evening with Cardinal Edward M. Egan to discuss security measures at the cathedral. Bloomberg said every indication was that the gunman "came to take his own life."

Bloomberg said any increase in security at St. Patrick's was up to the archdiocese and the police commissioner.

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