NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A wild scene played out in front of a police precinct on Sunday afternoon.
There was a car crash, a fire, and then a partially naked man threatening officers with a knife.
It all ended with police shooting the man, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported.
It was a strange chain of events to say the least, and at the center of it all was the burnt SUV on Northern Boulevard near 215th Street. Police said the man behind the wheel was sans clothes from the waist down when he intentionally crashed it, set it on fire and charged at officers with a knife.
An active investigation continued Sunday night, Roy reported.
Flames and thick smoke shot into the air from the SUV.
“That whole car was just completely engulfed in flames,” one witness said.
Nearby officers surrounded a man in his 30s who was lying on the ground. They said it all started just before 3 p.m. when that suspect purposely crashed his car into a parked NYPD cruiser outside the 111th Precinct.
“It was like tires screeching, just like loud metal,” witness Carl Riano said. “And that’s when you heard. essentially, just screaming and people running from the scene.”
Police said the man then tried to set the cop car on fire, but was only able to ignite his own before threatening two officers with a 12-inch kitchen knife. It wasn’t immediately clear where the blood on it came from, but investigators told CBS2’s Roy no one was stabbed.
“The subject brandished a knife and charged at the officers. Two officers discharged their firearms several times and struck the subject multiples times on his torso and leg,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said.
Police said the officers fired eight rounds in total.
“It was sound like, ‘pow, pow, pow,’ like that,” one witness said.
“We thought it was firecrackers. We turned around and we saw gun smoke. We saw everybody saying, ‘Run!’ So we just fled,” Bayside resident Ricky Levy said.
It was a scene so chaotic, the FDNY urged emergency responders over the radio to be very careful.
“I was concerned for the safety of the police officers,” one witness said. “That’s the only thing I was thinking of.”
There was no immediate word on why the suspect was engaging in such bizarre behavior.
“Somebody crashes a car and lights up other vehicles the possibility that there may be some mental issues,” Chief Harrison said.
The two officers were not injured, but were taken to the hospital for evaluation. As for the suspect, he is recovering in the hospital in stable conditions. He is said to not have a criminal past, but is expected to be charged in this case, police said.