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Armed man in custody after standoff forces lockdown at UN headquarters

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An armed man was taken into custody Thursday after an hours-long standoff with police forced the United Nations headquarters to go on lockdown in New York City, authorities said. There was no additional threat to the public, they said.

Police responded to a call from within the UN at approximately 10:40 a.m. ET about a man who appeared to be holding a loaded shotgun outside of the building’s headquarters in Manhattan, Benjamin Tucker, the fire deputy commissioner, said at a news conference.

At the scene, officers spoke with the man for several hours as he held a shotgun loaded with one round under his chin, according to NYPD Chief Harry Wedin. The man eventually handed over notebooks that he wanted the UN to receive.

Wedin said the papers were medical documents and “didn’t have any specific meaning” related to terrorism. “Based on statements he made, we knew early on that this did not appear to be terror-related,” he added. A police bomb squad responded to the scene as a precaution, but police said there was no indication that the man had an explosive device.

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The armed man surrendered and was taken into custody without incident at 1:40 p.m. “I think it was an opportunity for him to get the attention he needed and it worked,” Wedin said.

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UN Headquarters Standoff
Law enforcement respond to a man with a shotgun outside the UN headquarters in New York City on December 2, 2021.

John Minchillo / AP


The man, who has not been identified, is originally from Florida and has no criminal record, Tucker said. The individual “had some issues” and was sent to the hospital for observation, he said.

“I want to acknowledge the entire response team who helped bring this incident to a peaceful conclusion,” Tucker said.

An investigation is ongoing and the armed man faces pending charges. 

Pamela Falk contributed reporting.

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