A man apparently attempted suicide outside NBC’s “Today” show studio in New York City Thursday morning, requiring the crowd to be evacuated and the show’s anchors to move inside.
Witnesses said the man took “slice after slice” at his wrist with a blade and yelled that the Internal Revenue Service was out to get him, The New York Post reported.
The Post identified the man as 72-year-old Queens resident Pak Chong Mar, and reported he has a history of public acts of mutilation: In 1995, he chopped off three of his fingers with a meat cleaver and threw them into a crowd in Hong Kong.
On Thursday, Pak had been handing out flyers to the crowd gathered to watch the “Today” taping and screamed “the IRS is watching me.”
“He threw the papers up because nobody was taking them. He started cutting his wrists. People were running and screaming,” witness Kimberlee Sangiovanni told the Post.
Her twin sister, Kellie Ostransky, said, “I saw him take slice after slice. I saw the blood gushing.”
She added, “The first thing I thought about was that soldier in London, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is happening.’”
“There was an incident out on the plaza,” anchor Matt Lauer announced to viewers from inside the studio later. “A short time ago, a man out there attempted to harm himself with a knife. He did manage to cut himself. He was controlled by our security team out there. However, he did harm himself in some way. And so he’s now being attended to by medical personnel.”
Lauer said the man had said he didn’t want to harm others, just himself.
No one else was injured and the situation was contained, “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie said.