Friday, May 24, 2024

Police cordon off the area around a shooting in Cambridgeport on Wednesday. (Photo: Brandon Constant)

A man armed with a machetelike knife and “in apparent distress” died at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday after being shot by a police officer, authorities said.

The man was identified as Sayed Faisal, 20, possibly a student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, said district attorney Marian Ryan in a press conference held at around 9:45 p.m. at Cambridge police headquarters. Faisal was not known to law enforcement authorities before today, she said.

The incident took place at 1:15 p.m. at Chestnut and Waverly streets in Cambridgeport, when the man was shot by an officer, given medical aid and removed while police and public safety workers stayed on the scene investigating. Drivers were warned to expect traffic delays, but there was no threat to the public at that point, said Jeremy Warnick, director of communications and media relations for Cambridge police.

After the man died from his injuries, Ryan and Cambridge police commissioner Christine Elow confirmed in 4:41 p.m. press release that there had been a fatal officer-involved shooting.

“The very early stages” of an investigation led by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office was underway, according to Ryan and Elow.

A child is escorted by police and a caretaker from the child care center by to the scene of the Wednesday shooting. (Photo: Brandon Constant)

Police were alerted to a problem with a 911 call from a resident who saw Faisal jump out of a neighboring building and begin cutting himself with glass from the window and what’s known as a kukri knife – a curved blade of 10 to 12 inches that the caller described as a “machete,” Ryan said.

Approached by police, Faisal ran with knife through several blocks of the neighborhood, passing the train tracks and Albany Street in a rough circle.

The Live Boston 617 site, in an extensive account on the incident based on scanner reports, described a chase from 254 Sidney St. to Putnam Avenue, Waverly Street and finally to 59 Chestnut St. The Sidney Street location that is believed to be the start of the incident is Putnam Green, 40-unit affordable housing project.

Faisal came at police, still armed, and an officer discharged a nonlethal “sponge round” meant to startle; Faisal kept on, law enforcement officials said.

Police investigate the Wednesday shooting in Cambridgeport. (Photo: Brandon Constant)

“He continued to advance toward officers in possession of the weapon. One officer discharged this department-issued firearm and struck Faisal,” said a district attorney’s release  issued after the press conference.

Ryan would not say how many shots had been fired, or the number of wounds Faisal sustained.

The officer firing a lethal round has been placed on leave, as is standard in these situations. Elow said her officers are trained extensively in deescalation tactics, and in this case “our officers tried several times to engage the man verbally.” But he ran for five blocks through a neighborhood wielding a dangerous weapon, she noted.

“Any time life is lost in the community, it is tragic,” Elow said, noting that a Cambridge officer was with Faisal’s family Wednesday night,

A community meeting will be held next week to discuss the incident, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Yi-An Huang said in a statement Wednesday night.

“We are deeply saddened by the fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred today in Cambridge on January 4. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased,” the officials said. “The District Attorney’s Office will be conducting a thorough and transparent investigation with the full cooperation of the city and the police department. We will review all of the facts and findings as they become available and we are committed to learning from this case to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in our community. This tragic loss of life impacts all of us across the city.”

Any member of the public with information or video of the incident should contact the Cambridge police, Warnick said.