Police Shoot and Kill Knife-Wielding Man in Times Square

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NEW YORK - MAY 26:  Pedestrians in Times Square walk past a police car May 26, 2004 in New York City. The U.S. fears that al Qaeda may be plotting an attack inside the country or against U.S. interests abroad. Despite these warnings, the government has no plans to raise the terror threat level and has no details on when, where or how an attack might occur.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/2004 Getty Images

A long time ago, one could smoke pot (or do much worse) on the streets of Times Square without anyone paying attention, but in the present day, very few people would light up in front of the Hard Rock Cafe on a Saturday during high tourist season and expect to go unnoticed by the police. Yesterday, however, such an act was attempted by an unnamed 51-year-old man. Sadly, it ended in his death.

When the cops approached the man — who, according to the New York Times, was known around Times Square for asking for spare change while occasionally wearing a full ninja costume — he took out a large kitchen knife and ran, taunting the dozen officers who were chasing him and swinging at tourists along the way. He was shot after refusing multiple demands to drop the knife (and being pepper-sprayed six times), reports New York 1.

While it's not yet clear why the man resisted arrest, the sequence of events was well-documented — the commotion attracted a large crowd of onlookers, including passengers on the a double-decker sightseeing bus. "Some people were crouching near an office building," said one out-of-towner. "But others took out the cell phone cameras to try and capture it."