MIDTOWN — A knife-wielding man was shot dead by police after a dramatic faceoff in the heart of Times Square Saturday afternoon, police officials said.
Darrius Kennedy, 51, of Hempstead, Long Island, was shot after he pulled out an 11 inch knife and began waving it at passerby and officers on Seventh Avenue at 37th Street, ignoring police demands to drop the weapon, according to the NYPD.
Two officers shot Kennedy 12 times, police said, ending an altercation that began shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, when police approached Kennedy because he appeared to be smoking marijuana. When officers tried to arrest him, he pulled out the knife, police said..
On Saturday, officers tried to subdue the man with pepper spray six separate times, but he continued to back down Seventh Avenue, police said.
Responding police did not have tasers, Kelly said.
"I saw a guy running by, I saw a bunch of cops running after him," said Eddie Hernandez, 45, of New Jersey, who was 40 feet away from the incident, "They had him up against an area that he couldn't get out. They tried to mace him again, it didn't have an effect.
"There was a lot of kids around. They told him to drop the knife, he didn't. They told him to stay where he was, he started going back and forth with the knife. When he started coming up to them, they shot him.
"He was cursing, he was saying 'I'll kill you. The way he was acting, he was yelling in such a state, I don't know if he even understood them.
"When you're in that situation you gotta do what you gotta do. It's a good thing the guy didn' t have a gun."
Kelly told the Post seven bullets hit Kennedy. An NYPD spokesman said he was taken to Bellevue Hospital and declared dead.
Three officers in the incident were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.
"You can second guess all of these things," Kelly said, according to the Post.
"Under the circumstances, what the officers did was appropriate to the situation. They want to go home at night as well."
The New York Times reported that Kennedy had a long arrest record, including 10 prior incidents ranging from marijuana possession to a violent altercation with officers. In Oct. 2008, he was arrested for knocking over trash cans in Times Square.