Sergeant Edward Riley, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, said the man fired at the officers, but no officer or assistants were believed to have been injured.
The suspect was rushed to a local hospital, in critical condition, Sgt.
The shooting occurred outside the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in the middle of a choir performance on the stairs of the church.
There were no injuries in the crowd gathered in the vicinity of St John The Divine Cathedral in Manhattan, said Commissioner Dermot Shea of the New York Police.
Three police officers who intervened in The operation fired 15 shots in the direction of the attacker, whose identity was not disclosed, hitting him at least once in the head, he said.
The police found two short weapons at the scene and a bag in the vicinity that contained a jerrycan full of gasoline, cables, ropes and numerous knives, the commissioner added.
A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department had earlier indicated that officers used their weapons after the man began shooting .
An AFP reporter who witnessed the scene noted that the man fired in front of the church as hundreds of people began to disperse at the end of the chants.
Martha Stolley, A witness told AFP that the man had shot eight or ten times before being wounded by the police, and that he was shooting "without aiming" and shouting "Shoot me, kill me!"