Notre Dame Evacuated After Suicide at Altar
Man reportedly shoots himself
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2013 10:39 AM CDT
Updated May 21, 2013 2:35 PM CDT
This May 2 photo shows Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

(Newser) – Paris' legendary Notre Dame Cathedral was evacuated today, after a man shot himself in front of the altar, police tell France 24. The incident occurred around 4pm local time, while the tourist attraction was open to the public. Some 1,500 visitors were cleared out after the man put a letter on the altar, pulled out a gun, and shot himself in the head, reports the AP. He looked to be in his 50s.

It's the first suicide to occur at the cathedral in decades, says its rector, who explained that while a few people have committed suicide by jumping from Notre Dame's twin towers, he was unaware of anyone having ever committed suicide at the altar. The motives for the suicide, and the contents of the man's letter, remain unknown.