Armed standoff at United Nations between cops and shotgun-wielding man comes to peaceful end

A shotgun-toting Florida man surrendered to police Thursday afternoon after engaging cops in a 2 1/2 hour-standoff outside the United Nations’ headquarters on the East Side.

Law enforcement sources said the man showed up outside the UN at the corner of 42nd Street and 1st Avenue at about 11:15 a.m. on Dec. 2, pointing a shotgun at his chin.

For much of the standoff, the yet-to-be identified individual paced back and forth near the entrance, holding the barrel of the shotgun under his chin.

A man points a shotgun at his chin outside the United Nations during a standoff on Dec. 2, 2021. Photo by Dean Moses
The heavy police presence outside the United Nations during the standoff on Dec. 2, 2021.Photo by Dean Moses

The situation prompted a massive police response to the area, with nearby streets closed off to traffic. The UN was briefly put on lockdown; Secretary General Antonio Guterres was inside the headquarters at the time and brought to a secure location, according to a UN spokesperson.

Just after 1 p.m. Thursday, the gunman produced a pile of documents and apparently demanded that they be delivered to the UN. The content within the documents is not yet known.

The gunman holding up documents that he demanded police retrieve and deliver to the UN. Photo by Dean Moses

After police retrieved the documents and handed them over to personnel within the headquarters, the man surrendered without further incident at about 1:40 p.m.

The gunman was handcuffed and escorted into a waiting ambulance, most likely heading to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

The gunman in handcuffs. Photo by Dean Moses
olice escort the handcuffed gunman to a nearby ambulance. Photo by Dean Moses

During a press conference after the standoff ended, First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said the suspect made it evident that he desired to have the aforementioned documents delivered to multinational building. However, officials would not state their exact contents, other than partly consisting of medical documents,

 “They didn’t have any specific meaning that were related to anything related to terrorism. But they were medical papers and some other documents. Nothing that that told the story, there was no written note from him,” Tucker said. “I think it was an opportunity for him to get the attention he needed, and it worked.”

Tucker was joined Chief of Special Ops Harry Wedin and fellow police officials outside of the United Nations to brief the media regarding the incident.

First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker. Photo by Dean Moses

According to Wedin, the man was armed with shotgun, containing one buckshot. Originally from Florida, he arrived in New York City on Dec. 1, and checked into the Millennium hotel.  

Wedin assured the public that a bomb squad swept the hotel in order to ensure there was no danger to the public. A shotgun with a single buckshot was recovered from the scene. Police have deemed the man emotionally disturbed.

“Based on statements he made when you were early on it does not appear to being totally related,” Wedin said, proud that the standoff ended peacefully.

The investigation is still ongoing and detectives pledge to discover the man’s motives.

“The idea here in a hostage negotiation is to is to work together and to bring this to the kind of conclusion that we actually were able to get, so job well done,” Tucker said.

An armed officer at the scene. Photo by Dean Moses