Christmas Concert Shooter at NYC Cathedral an Immigrant Who Avoided Deportation Despite Lengthy Criminal Record

The man who fired upon people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who built up a lengthy rap sheet and managed to avoid deportation.

According to an official who spoke with the New York Times, a federal immigration judge ordered Luis Manuel Vasquez Gomez to be deported in 1995 because of his long list of criminal convictions. Vasquez, however, successfully appealed the order and received a deportation waiver in 2017.

Vasquez came to the United States legally in 1976 and grew up near the cathedral. He had been living in the Bronx with his mother prior to his crime and death. His history of previous crimes included cutting a man’s hand, attempting to sell drugs to an undercover officer, and shooting at a group of officers and an unidentified woman.

Vasquez’s sister maintains that his prison experience in the 1990s, which included solitary confinement and an episode of severe beating by prison guards, and the loss of his subsequent legal resident status turned him perpetually angry and emotionally distant. She also cited the COVID-19 lockdown as a factor that recently pushed him over the edge.

As for the shooting, Vasquez did not harm anyone but refused to drop his gun when NYPD officers arrived at the scene. That’s when they shot him, and he later died in the hospital. NBC New York says Vasquez carried a note saying that he planned to take hostages and accused the United States of “robbing” Latin America.

He was also wearing a hat and mask depicting the Dominican Republic flag during the shooting, which took place after a Christmas concert held at the cathedral.

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