Firing at man in Times Square, police wound two bystanders
NEW YORK • Confronted by an agitated man who at one point lay down in the middle of a crowded intersection in Times Square late Saturday evening, two police officers opened fire at the man, striking two bystanders instead, the authorities said.
The shooting occurred shortly after the man put his hand in his pants, then withdrew it and mimicked shooting at the officers, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference at Bellevue Hospital Center early Sunday. The man, identified as Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, did not have a gun, the police said.
An officer fired one shot, and the other fired two shots, Kelly said. In a video of the episode, a single shot is heard first, followed about seven seconds later by two more shots.
The bystanders, two women from Manhattan, were walking in the area when the officers fired their weapons, Kelly said. Broadnax, who was not wounded, was later surrounded by officers, shocked with a Taser and subdued, Kelly said.
One of the women, 54, was wounded in the leg, fracturing her tibia and fibula, Kelly said. She was taken to Bellevue, where she was expected to undergo surgery. The other woman, who is in her mid-30s, suffered a graze wound to the buttock. She was treated at Roosevelt Hospital and released early Sunday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Neither woman was identified by the police.
Witnesses and officials said Broadnax had been darting in front of cars at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue about 9:30 p.m.
At one point, he appeared to have been hit and knocked to the ground by a taxi, said Kerri-Ann Nesbeth, who was standing on the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue by a subway entrance when the episode unfolded. Broadnax then picked himself up, she said.
"He was very disoriented," she said. "It's almost like he didn't realize what had happened. He started to walk toward the taxi as though he was going to confront the driver."
At that moment, she said, a police officer intervened and tried unsuccessfully to move Broadnax out of the intersection. He resisted and remained in the intersection after a light change and traffic started moving in his direction.
In a video captured by a witness on his cellphone, the man is seen running erratically around the intersection as officers try to corral him out of the street.
"He was just wandering, running away from the cop," said a witness who described himself as a retired police officer and did not want to be named. "He tried to run and ended up getting hit by three different cars."
But at the news conference early Sunday, Kelly, citing the preliminary investigation, said the man had not been hit by any cars.
"It appeared that he wanted to be struck by cars," Kelly said. Broadnax had only a wallet in his possession, the commissioner added.
The officers involved were relatively new to the force, Kelly said. One had been with the Police Department for one and a half years. The other had three years' experience. Neither had been involved in any shootings before Saturday, Kelly said.
The intersection and surrounding sidewalks were crammed with people and cars. When the shots rang out, people started screaming and running, Nesbeth said. Some took refuge in the subway entrance; others in stores and restaurants.
In one video posted to YouTube, a bystander is heard saying, "Don't shoot him no more."
Anger at the police for opening fire quickly spread through the crowd, Nesbeth said.
"My reaction was like, 'Wait, why are they shooting at him?'" she said. "He was just run over by a car."