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A man with a knife cut his wrists outside the filming of the ‘Today’ show on Thursday.
A deranged, suicidal man ranting against the government used two knives to saw at his wrists outside the “Today” show Thursday morning.
Queens man Pak Chong Mar was unkempt and in his 50s, witnesses said. He wore a grey T-shirt and white baseball cap when he staggered up to “Today” show fans outside 10 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan and used broken English to tell anyone who would listen that the Internal Revenue Service was corrupt and that the agency “ruined his life.”
Witnesses said the man was ranting about the IRS and tossed a stack of papers in the air before cutting himself.
Mar was shouting about peppermint tea and trying to get bystanders to read a pile of papers — reportedly IRS documents of some sort — until he tossed the stack into the air about 7:50 a.m.
He then whipped out a pocket knife with three or four-inch blade and yelled “I’m going to cut myself!” twice before hacking at his own wrist.
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Security guards tackled the man, who could be seen bleeding beneath a partition outside the studio.
Someone wrestled the blade from Mar before he pulled out a second knife and started cutting away at his other wrist. NYPD cops and plaza security guards rushed towards the man with pepper-spray and tackled him, sending him sprawling.
“It happened really fast — and then he was down,” said 21-year-old Jossie Edwards, a tourist from Easley, S.C.
The unidentified man was taken to St. Luke’s hospital and expected to survive.
He was so bloody that police used their feet to restrain the man while waiting for medical personnel to arrive. Gore was everywhere, said Edwards’ mother, Kim McLeroy.
“They didn’t want to touch him,” McLeroy said.
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Police said the man (above in white hat), thought to be in his 50s, pulled out a knife and began cutting his wrists and his forearms at around 7:50 a.m. Police quickly pounced on him.
He screamed, “Move my head!” as personnel restrained him and loaded him into an ambulance, McLeroy said. Mar was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital and is expected to survive.
The “Today” crew had planned to do a segment outside until Matt Lauer announced to the crowd that the appearance was cancelled because of the “incident,” McLeroy said.
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No one in the crowd was injured in the incident.
The suicidal man never made it in front of the millions who watch the breakfast show. “He was in the crowd but off camera,” a police source said.
Mar was however within the “Today” show’s barricades and among a crowd of people when he began his self-inflicted attack.
Photos shot by a bystander showed the man on the ground with blood on his arms.
No one else was injured, and witnesses said the man appeared intent on self-harm — not mass casualties.
Security cleared the Rockefeller Plaza as custodial crews dropped powder and mopped up the bloody scene.
McLeroy and Edwards were on their first visit to the Big Apple.
“It’s been really nice, nothing out of the ordinary — except that,” she said.
The “Today” show confirmed the incident in a tweet that said,“@MLauer just reported that a man on the plaza tried to harm himself with a knife. No one else was injured. Police are handling.”
About an hour after the incident, host Matt Lauer tweeted, “All secure on the plaza after a scary incident. Thanks to our security team and the NYPD.”