NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS) – A police officer shot a bank-robbery suspect Thursday near one of the busiest spots in Manhattan.

Police officers gather outside a Chase bank, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Police say the man was wielding a knife and was shot by an officer after trying to rob a Chase bank branch located right next to entrances to Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.

John Daniel Stolarz, 69, entered the bank on 7th Avenue around 12:30 p.m.  During the attempted robbery, Stolarz demanded money from the customer service desk instead of from a bank teller, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

When told by the customer service representative that she had no money, Stolarz left the branch.

A bank manager notified police and on-duty cops followed the man as he went into and exited Penn Station.

Police said the suspect refused repeated demands by authorities to drop his weapon.

Also Thursday, police said Stolarz was released Wednesday from Fairton Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey for armed bank robbery.

Stolarz has served approximately 21 years in Federal prisons for armed bank robberies in Utah, Louisiana, Washington State and Nevada, police said.

The shooting happened away from the hubbub of the area, down the block in a less-heavily trafficked area in front of an Amtrak loading dock.

Suspect's knife (Photo/DCPI)

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne says Stolarz was shot once in the leg.  D’Auria reported that the suspect had been taken to Bellevue Hospital and was in stable condition.

Manhattanite Ethan Harp says he saw the whole thing. The freelance journalist says, “the officer seemed very calm.”

Authorities have blocked off a portion of West 31st Street right near the bank, which is temporarily shuttered.

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