New York: An unidentified man was shot dead by police near the crowded Times Square here, after he threatened the officers with a knife.
The incident happened on Saturday when the officers approached a man who, they said, appeared to be smoking marijuana, on the pedestrian plaza in the heart of city landmark, the New York Times reported.
Police said that when the officers tried to arrest the man, he stuck a marijuana cigarette in his pocket, raised the knife over his head and started to put on a blue bandanna.
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, they said.
As the man fled, weaving through crowds and darting between cars, he threatened bystanders, witnesses said. The police gave chase, eventually cornering him near 37th Street and Seventh Avenue and killing him in a fusillade of bullets after he ignored orders to drop his weapon and lunged at officers, the Times reported.
The police did not say how many shots officers had fired.
"The police officers used pepper spray six times to try to halt the man, who repeatedly threatened officers with a kitchen knife with a 15-centimetre blade," the Times quoted Paul J Browne, the chief police spokesman, as saying.
The police could not immediately identify the 51-year-old man, who was pronounced dead at the Bellevue Hospital Center.
For many tourists and shoppers thronging the Times Square, the crime scene did have the appeal of a movie set but it soon threw the onlookers into a mix of fear and curiosity.
"Out-of-towners on a red double-decker tourist bus gawked at the unfolding drama, a bit more of the New York experience than they had bargained for. Nervous onlookers peered out from restaurant and shop windows, the flashing lights of Times Square lending a bizarre atmosphere, which grew even wilder as a crowd gathered, attracted by the commotion," the paper said.
"Each time an officer got close, the man would swing his knife. The man dodged each vehicle that tried to block his path," the daily quoted Jeffrey Gibson (39), who watched the chase unfold.