MIDTOWN, Manhattan — It started off as any other day for people trudging along to work.
The coffee carts set up, the C and E trains pulling into the 49th street station, the worker bees heading to the office — when suddenly gunshots rang out at 8:30 a.m.
Steps away from Broadway and Times Square, the area was not only packed with commuters, but tourists as well.
It all began when a man walked into the Food Emporium Supermarket on 49th Street and 8th Avenue to purchase beer. According to police, the man and a cashier got into a verbal dispute and the man became extremely angry. A customer went out to tell a police officer, who approached the man on the sidewalk.
Police say the two got into a physical fight in the middle of the street. While both were on the ground, the man pulled out a knife, while dozens of people were on the corner watching this unfold.
“As the suspect got back on his feet, he pulled out an 8-inch knife,” described Chief of Department James O’Neil.
Another NYPD officer and Sergeant came running to aide their fellow officer and made multiple requests to the suspect to drop the knife. He did not.
O’Neil said the officers opened fire on the suspect fearing their safety, firing nine shots until the man was down.
“The police officer was crying,” described witness Tamar Mendelson.
PIX11 received exclusive surveillance video that shows the panic in the streets in the moments after the shots as witnesses ducked for cover.
Buddy Kumar has been a doorman as the Elmsford Arms building on the corner of 49th Street and 8th Avenue for 34 years. He was out buying his daily cup of coffee at a local shop when he heard the shots and ran back to his building, slamming the door behind him.
“It’s scary, I have never seen anything like this,” says Buddy.
Police have not released the identity of the suspect, but say he has a history with police.