Cops shot a knife-wielding maniac dead on a packed Midtown street yesterday after several officers drew their weapons and chased him at gunpoint through Times Square.
“Shoot me! Shoot me!” the armed madman shouted at a crowd of more than 20 cops, who had followed him for several blocks and blasted him with pepper spray before cornering him on Seventh Avenue near West 38th Street. The furious 51-year-old finally lunged at the officers with his 11-inch butcher knife, leading two cops to blast him in the torso, groin and arms, police said.
Video of the dramatic incident shows approximately 10 shots were fired. The man died a short time later at Bellevue Hospital. The chaos at the Crossroads of the World sent hordes of tourists and pedestrians fleeing in panic — as others looked on in stunned shock. Many, however, followed the suspect and pursuing cops down Seventh Avenue in a surreal procession with their cellphone cameras in hand.
One witness said the man was “erratic” and “looked like he was on something.” “He was waving it and swinging it at cops,” said Asa Lowe. “It was a righteous kill. They shot in self-defense. They were in fear of their lives.” Another witness said the man earlier tried to expose himself to two people as he exited the subway.
The harrowing scene began when an officer on foot patrol first spotted the dreadlocked man in a white T-shirt on West 44th Street and saw him openly smoking a marijuana joint, sources said. When she and another cop approached, he put the pot in his pocket, whipped out his knife and put a blue bandana on his head, cops said.
The officers radioed for backup, and other cops soon joined the pursuit with their guns drawn. “I saw the guy running with a knife. It was like a meat cutter,” said Mike Johnoino. “There were 20 or 30 cops chasing him.”
Witness Sergio Martinez said, “I heard the police say, ‘Stop! Drop your weapon!’ ” Officers finally cornered him near a bank a few blocks south of Times Square, where they continued to pepper-spray him — but he kept swinging his knife. Two cops eventually fired on the man.
48.7 mn The number of tourists that visited Times Square in 2011