East Harlem police shooting: Knife-wielding man shot in buttocks after attack attempt

East Harlem police officials speak about police shooting
Assistant Chief Ruel Stevenson of Patrol Borough Manhattan North speak about the police shooting in East Harlem on June 1, 2024.
Screenshot via X/@NYPDNews

East Harlem police officers shot a knife-wielding man who allegedly tried to attack a group of people and cops just steps away from a local police precinct, NYPD officials said Saturday evening.

Charges are pending against the suspect, a 36-year-old man who remains hospitalized in stable condition after a sergeant shot him in the buttocks to break up the threat, according to Assistant Chief Ruel Stevenson, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan North.

During a June 1 press conference outside the 23rd Precinct, Stevenson said the suspect has a prior documented history of mental illness, including two prior encounters with the NYPD in May. In those instances, the chief noted, he had been hospitalized for evaluation, and later released.

Stevenson outlined the preliminary details of the incident, which began at about 5:30 p.m. on June 1, when a local resident came to the 23rd Precinct stationhouse, located at 164 East 102nd St., and informed officers of an “irate male” armed with a knife who was “attempting to stab a group of people.”

Nearby security cameras and officer body cam footage later confirmed this initial report, the chief noted.

Knife recovered from suspect in East Harlem police shooting
The knife recovered from a suspect shot by police in East Harlem during an encounter on June 1, 2024.Photo courtesy of NYPD

A uniformed sergeant and two police officers exited the stationhouse to investigate the matter. Within seconds, after crossing the street, the three cops noticed the suspect, while brandishing a knife, running and attempting to stab a victim.

“The situation was extremely chaotic and fast,” Stevenson said. “The officers gave numerous verbal commands to the male to drop the knife,” but the man refused and continued pursuing an individual.

The chief stated that the suspect lunged at two officers with the knife. One of the officers then discharged a Taser, which Stevenson said had no effect on the knife-wielding man — who then swung the blade at the officer, missing her face by “mere inches.”

“The sergeant, seeing that the male was trying to slash the officer, has no choice but to discharge his firearm,” the chief said. The sergeant fired one shot, which struck the knife-wielding man in the buttocks.

Police were able to subdue the suspect, who was then taken to a local hospital for treatment, Stevenson noted. The officers involved in the incident were medically evaluated; no other injuries were reported.

“This police department is the most restrained police department in the nation, and we use force as a last resort,” the chief said. “Unfortunately today, all of our attempts to deescalate this fast-moving incident, which lasted 34 seconds, were unsuccessful.”

The case was presented to the NYPD Force Investigation Division, which examines all incidents involving police use of force.