Family of deranged man fatally shot by cops in Times Square upset over use deadly force

Relatives of the deranged knife-wielding man gunned down by cops in Times Square say they are upset about the NYPD’s use of deadly force in the confrontation.

“It doesn’t take 12 bullets to kill one person,” the dead man’s aunt, Margaret Johnson, told The News.

“I think it could have been done another way.”

But NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the fatal shooting at the Crossroads of the World was appropriate.

Police fired 12 times at Darrius Kennedy, 51, after he lunged at them with a knife Saturday afternoon, sending tourists running for cover.

“I think the police responded appropriately,” Kelly told reporters Sunday.

Mayor Bloomberg also said the shooting appeared to be justified.

“He had a knife and he was going after people,” the mayor told reporters. “It’s just one of those terrible unfortunate events.”

Kennedy, who had ten prior arrests, was within three feet of the officers and was threatening them when they unloaded their weapons, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The confrontation began when a cop spied Kennedy smoking marijuana at 44th St and 7th Ave. just after 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kennedy grew belligerent, and when police attempted to cuff him, he struggled free, pulling an Ikea kitchen knife with a six-inch blade out of his pocket and waving it over his head.

He backed down 7th Ave for seven blocks as more cops amassed.

“He’s not fleeing,” Browne said. “He’s backing up continuing to menace them and members of the public nearby with the knife.”

Kennedy was pepper-sprayed six times by four cops to little effect.

“He’s repeatedly told throughout this period to drop the knife,” Browne said.

Two police cars pulled onto the sidewalk, attempting to block Kennedy’s path down 7th Ave. as he approached 37th St.

The madman squeezed past the first vehicle before its driver could get out, but officers from the second car jumped out to confront him.

“He comes at them,” Browne said.

As Kennedy lunged at the two cops with his knife, they fired 12 times. Neither officer had discharged their weapon in the line of duty before, police said. Both are from the Midtown South precinct.

One officer, age 33, fired nine times. His partner, age 40, fired three times.

Kennedy was hit at least seven times, official said. He died at Bellevue Hospital from gunshot wounds to the chest, groin, left arm and left calf.

Kennedy was taken to the same hospital by cops in October 2008 for a psychiatric evaluation after he was picked up for knocking over garbage cans in Times Square.

A month later he was arrested after yelling curses at motorists as he walked amongst traffic on Broadway near W. 66th St.

When police moved in to arrest him, he threatened them with a screwdriver.

“I”m gonna f- you up,” Kennedy told cops, according to NYPD officials.

He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest in the 2008 incident.

He was sentenced to 40 days in jail after pleading guilty to resisting arrest.

He has additional prior arrests stretching back to 1978, cops said, for harassment and possession of marijuana, weapons and stolen property.

But Kennedy’s family remembered him as an easy-going musician who played bass in church in his hometown of Hempstead, L.I., though they admitted to losing touch with him in recent years.

“I think they could have given him a warning shot, probably a shot in the leg or arm,” said Kennedy’s cousin, Kathy Johnson.

“I know they’ve got to protect the people, but at the same time, you took somebody’s life.”

NYPD officials said the department uses deadly force sparingly. Eight people were fatally shot by police last year.

“As a big city department, we’re probably the most restrained in the country when it comes to deadly force,” Browne said.

WATCH the video from the scene.

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