Officer Shoots Knife-Wielding Man Charging at Police in Harlem Whole Foods: NYPD

The knife-wielding man was being combative and charged at an officer moments before he was shot, police say

What to Know

  • A 28-year-old man was shot by an officer at a Whole Foods in Harlem Saturday night, police say
  • An officer shot the man after he refused to put down a knife and charged at the officer, according to police
  • The suspect was hospitalized but is expected to be OK; several officers were taken to a hospital for observation

An officer shot and injured an alleged shoplifter who was wielding a knife inside a Whole Foods in Manhattan on Saturday night, police say.

Officers responded to the store at West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem around 8 p.m. after they got a call about a man being held by a security guard for trying to steal from the store, according to police.

When NYPD officers arrived, the 28-year-old man became combative, pulled out a knife and charged at one of the officers, police said, adding that at least some of the confrontation was captured on video.

The man allegedly didn't heed warnings to drop the knife and one officer shot twice at him, according to police, who cautioned that the information they were providing was preliminary. 

NYPD Handout
Police say this is the knife a man was holding when he charged at an officer in a Whole Foods in Harlem.

Video and photos from the scene appear to show the man being wheeled away on a stretcher as crowds gather outside the Whole Foods. Witnesses described hiding in the aisles of the store as the incident unfolded.

Police said the suspect was taken to Harlem Hospital in stable condition with a possible gunshot wound to his shoulder.

Several officers were also taken to a nearby hospital for observation.

Crime scene tape was up at a Whole Foods in Harlem after a police-involved shooting. 

"I can say that there were no shoppers in danger," Assistant Chief Kathleen O'Reilly, of the NYPD, said at a press conference a couple hours after the shooting.

Police tape was up at the store as detectives investigated. A makeshift sign at the entrance read: "Closed for the evening."

The suspect -- identified Sunday as Michael Vasquez -- has an extensive criminal record and is on parole, according to police, who said he has tried to shoplift from the same Whole Foods in the past. 

Vasquez was charged Sunday with attempted assault on a police officer, criminal possession of a weapon, and petit larceny.

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