An unidentified man believed to be in his 50s harmed himself with a knife outside the Today show studios in New York City on Thursday, June 6. Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie were outside in Rockefeller Plaza when the incident occurred at 7:50 a.m. NBC cameras did not catch the man on camera, though several bystanders uploaded pictures and videos taken using their cell phones.
Lauer, 55, addressed the incident shortly after. "Opening the 8 o'clock half hour inside the studio today because there was an incident out on the plaza," he explained after a commercial break. "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," he continued. "However, he did harm himself in some way. And so he's now being attended to by medical personnel."
Lauer added that the man "did say something about not wanting to harm others."
According to the New York Daily News, the man wore a gray T-shirt and a white baseball cap. Onlookers told the newspaper that the man was ranting about how the Internal Revenue Service is corrupt and "ruined his life."
The man allegedly asked bystanders to read a stack of documents pertaining to the IRS; when they refused, he threw them up in the air. He then whipped out a pocket knife and shouted, "I'm going to cut myself!" before taking the blade to his wrist. Someone managed to wrestle the knife from the man's hand, but he pulled out a second blade and began cutting his other wrist.
Police officers and plaza security guards rushed toward the man, where they pepper-sprayed him and tackled him. The man was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital and is expected to survive. Later that morning, Lauer tweeted, "All secure on the plaza after a scary incident. Thanks to our security team and the NYPD."