Emotionally disturbed man allegedly holding knives Tasered on Lower East Side

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man said to be emotionally disturbed is hospitalized after a terrifying incident on the Lower East Side Friday morning in which he allegedly threatened people with knives before being Tasered twice by police.

The whole incident began when police say he stole two butcher knives from Ruby's Cafe on Mulberry Street.

Then people started calling 911 as he allegedly threatened customers in the area of "The Butcher's Daughter" on Kenmare Street around 8:20 a.m.

Eatery manager Mariel Valdez said she and her customers were locked down in the restaurant for an hour after the same man threatened them with a broken bottle.

"Thankfully, nothing happened," she said. "We were here for a good hour, though, while he was storming the area. And then afterwards, we did see him pass by with two knives."

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Just minutes later, at 8:37 a.m., there were more calls about a man holding two large knives and harassing elderly people at the intersection of Elizabeth and Grand streets.

Police caught up with him around 8:55 a.m. in front of 95 East Houston Street. They tried to Taser him, unsuccessfully.

An officer from the 9th Precinct saw the struggle and fired a shot, but no one was struck.

The officers involved in the struggle then tried to Taser him a second time, and they were successful in subduing him and took him into custody.

A resident in the area named Monica described the situation.

"I was on my morning coffee walk," she said. "I was going up Lafayette, and I just kind of heard a commotion. And then I look, and this guy's running through Lafayette with two butcher knives, kind of like holding them like this as he's running around. And then two guys were chasing after him that, maybe they were cops, they looked like good citizens to me. I thought it was very brave to be chasing a man with two knives, and they just said, 'Get out of the way, this guy's crazy, start running,' and so I did."

She said the knives were quite large.

"The knifepoints were pointing out, and they were like, probably at least eight inches out," she said. "They were like butcher knives. It was scary. I'm very happy that no one else was hurt."

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Kim Kalesti saw the man minutes earlier.

"He has two butcher knives, really big knives," she said. "And he was walking fast."

The 25-year-old man was taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.

His name has not yet been released, but he is said to be a Brooklyn resident who has a previous conviction on attempted criminal possession of a weapon and served three years in prison.

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