PUBLISHED: 15:37 EST, 11 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:08 EST, 12 August 2012
- 51-year-old Darrius Kennedy screamed at officers and waved 11-inch knifeerratically
- Shot twice in the stomach by officers and died in hospital
- He refused repeated orders to drop weapon in one of New York’s busiest tourist spots
Police shot and killed a man who lunged at them with a machete as he screamed ‘Shoot me, shoot me’ while horrified witnesses took cover.
Darrius Kennedy’s terrifying stand-off with officers happened on Saturday afternoon at 3pm in Times Square, the heart of one of New York’s busiest tourist destinations.
The 51-year-old was smoking marijuana near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, when he became agitated, pulled out an 11-inch knife and put a bandanna on his head.
Terror on the streets: NYPD officers, with their weapons drawn, stalk a machete wielding man in the middle of Times Square
The unidentified 30-year-old male was corralled down seventh avenue by officers of the NYPD as they instructed him to drop his weapon
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.
Officers pepper sprayed Kennedy 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. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital while suffering from cardiac arrest and died from his injuries a short time later.
Some of the police officers involved were treated for tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, at an area hospital.
The incident was filmed by witnesses in Times Square as the man screamed obscenities at the police
On the move: Police chased down the 51-year-old waving a knife in the mid-town area of New York
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 Kennedy as he appears to skip down Seventh Avenue.
‘They screamed, ”Put it down, put it down,”’ said newsstand worker Sunny Choi, 26, of police orders to the man.
Bewildered: Onlookers shouted at the man to do what the police were telling him but he did not seem to listen
Shot: New York City police officers shot and killed knife-wielding man near Times Square today in front of hundreds of shocked onlookers
Busy streets: Witnesses following the unfolding scene down from New York’s Times Square
Henry Irby, a t-shirt vendor, added: ‘The tourists were running everywhere, screaming, panic.’
Others described Kennedy swinging at people with his knife as he passed them.
The officers surrounded him and around ten rounds were fired.
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.’
Horror: ‘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
Scared: ‘Just saw a guy with a knife, 30 cops and more than 5 police cars running by me at Times Square. What’s up???’ tweeted one woman
Some witnesses took to Twitter to share their horror.
‘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.
Kennedy had a history of trouble with the law. He had 10 arrests to his name, including seven for marijuana possession. In 2008, he was taken to a hospital for observation after knocking down garbage cans in Times Square.