Police shot and killed a man who lunged at them with a machete in Times Square as he screamed ‘Shoot me, shoot me’. The terrifying stand-off happened on Saturday afternoon at 3pm in Times Square and was witnessed by dozens of bystanders.
Officers had approached the 51-year-old man who appeared to be smoking marijuana near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, in the heart of Times Square, one of New York’s busiest tourist destinations.
The man became agitated, pulled out an 11-inch knife and began to put a bandanna on his head, police said.
He refused repeated orders to drop the weapon and began backing down the avenue, continuing for a number of blocks and drawing many officers into a slow-speed pursuit that took them south of Times Square.
According to the police account, officers pepper sprayed the man six times but he held onto the knife throughout the seven-block pursuit.
At West 37th Street, he lunged at police and two officers shot him in the torso, police said. He was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital.
‘They screamed, ”Put it down, put it down,”’ said newsstand worker Sunny Choi, 26, of police orders to the man.
Another witness said that tourists were screaming and running down the packed thoroughfare as the man was corralled down Seventh Avenue by police.
‘The tourists were running everywhere, screaming, panic,’ said Henry Irby, a t-shirt vendor.
Witnesses recalled a chaotic scene in which some bystanders took cover, while others began following the procession down the avenue in an attempt to capture cellphone video of it.
On video, a number of officers, guns drawn, can be seen pursuing the man as he appears to skip down Seventh Avenue.
‘He was swinging at people as he ran,’ Jobby Nogver, a 17-year-old visiting from Boston, told The New York Times.
Nogver watched as police surrounded the man and fired. ‘I can’t tell you how many shots,’ he said.
Video taken at the scene from witnesses’ cell phone suggested that approximately ten rounds were fired.
The dreadlocked man has not been identified yet because he was carrying no identification on him, said police.
Priscilla Rocha, a tourist from Brazil, was visiting Times Square with her husband when they saw the confrontation.
‘I almost had a heart attack,” she told the Times. ‘Everyone started running.’
NYPD Commissioner Paul Browne told MailOnline: ‘A man armed with a knife was pepper sprayed by officers to no effect, advanced on officers, refused to drop his weapon and was shot by police on 7th Avenue between 37th and 38th streets’.
He was taken to Bellevue Hospital while suffering from cardiac arrest.
He was in serious condition for just over an hour before he died from his injuries, police said.
Mr Browne added that some officers were being treated for tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, at an area hospital.
A video of the event shows multiple police vehicles surrounding a man on Seventh Avenue before dozens of cops descend on him.
The sound of gunshots can be heard shortly thereafter.
Witnesses were in disbelief; reeling from the dramatic scene that unfolded in front of them.
‘Just saw a dude with a butcher size knife get chased through times square by cops. Apparently, they chased him down and shot him,’ one witness tweeted.
‘Omg! Time to go home!! Man in times square with a machete …like 20 cops came out of nowhere with guns drawn! I’m traumatized!!’ said another.
’20 police officers against 1 person…. Killed him right in the middle of the street,’ said another.