The United States has been hit by a major political crisis after President Donald Trump shot dead a 32-year-old man on Fifth Avenue in New York.
In what appeared to be a deliberate act of murder, Mr Trump pulled out two handguns and began firing them wildly on the footpath outside Trump Tower soon after he arrived there in his presidential motorcade (main picture).
Mr Trump flew out of Washington unexpectedly yesterday on Air Force One with the White House quickly issuing a statement saying he had made a last-minute decision to spend the weekend in his penthouse apartment in Trump Tower located on Fifth Avenue.
A New York Police Department spokesperson said when his motorcade stopped outside the building the President started walking into Trump Tower but suddenly stopped and ran in the other direction, losing his security detail.
“At that point he drew the guns and fired shots at random into the crowd on the footpath with all but one narrowly missing people,” the spokesperson said.
“I can confirm that a bullet struck and killed a well-known local busker, Marceau Marcel (pictured), who was performing a mime routine on the footpath opposite Trump Tower when he was killed.”
The shooting sparked a tense stand-off between Secret Service agents and New York police officers at the scene with both seeking legal advice on whether Mr Trump, as a serving US President, was liable to be arrested and charged with any offence.
Following the intervention of Mr Trump’s legal representative, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the President was allowed to leave the scene with no charges being laid.
But New York’s Office of Public Prosecutions said it was continuing to assess the incident and could not rule out charging the President with first-degree murder at a later date.
“It is often argued that a sitting President cannot be charged with any offence, but that’s never been tested before,” a source within the Office of Public Prosecutions said.
“So there is no doubt this is a vital test case and its outcome will set a constitutional precedent.
“But this specific incident means it’s a really tricky case and we’re not sure that any charges we laid would stick.
“I mean, if it had been anyone else the President had shot this would be an open-and-shut case and within months he’d be behind bars doing life.
“But a street busker? And a mime at that? Jesus, no jury would convict anyone of shooting one of them,” the source said.
After news of the killing broke, Mr Trump’s approval rating jumped dramatically in polls taken by a range of national media outlets.