The "Today" show filming on Thursday, May 6 was marred by a suicide attempt outside the show's studio in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Matt Lauer explained to viewers that due to the off-camera incident, a segment which was supposed to be filming outdoor had been scrapped.
The incident occurred around 7:40 A.M. EST as a man who was among the audience watching "Today" attempted to harm himself during the broadcast. Wearing a grubby gray T-shirt and a white baseball cap, the emotionally-disturbed man identified as Pak Chong Mar reportedly yelled, "The IRS ruined my life!" before he pulled out his knife.
A witness says after Pak cut one wrist, somebody knocked the knife out of his hands. He then grabbed another knife and cut the other wrist, but a former NYPD cop who now works as Lauer's "security guy" managed to take him down "like a sack of potatoes."
Lauer then took to Twitter to address the situation, "All secure on the plaza after a scary incident. Thanks to our security team and the NYPD." He added in another post, "Sorry, a man attempted to harm himself with a knife. He is under police control. In custody."
Lauer's co-anchor Natalie Morales called it "kind of a hard day," but was grateful for "a great security team." She said that the show would continue filming at the plaza despite the incident because "that's part of our identity as a show. Our guests in the audience, in the plaza, expect to come out and have a good time so we'll still be out here."
NBC News also issued a statement to assure fans that "we have strict security protocols in place to protect visitors to the TODAY show and those procedures were followed and effective. We are very grateful for the actions of our security team and the NYPD that no others visiting the show were harmed in the incident."
Met by NY Daily News at Bellevue Hospital, Pak who now have bandages on both his wrists said of his action, "I had to do something desperate to fight the corruption, fight the IRS. They are so powerful." He further explained, "I need people to help me fight for justice. If I don't do something drastic, sooner or later these guys are going to kill me anyway. I couldn't even pay rent this month."
The 76-year-old man who emigrated from China to New York in 1948 claimed he made a million dollars buying stocks, and that TD Ameritrade and Scottrade helped plunder his funds. "I should be living well," he said. "I had over a million dollars before. They're making my life miserable."
His daughter who refused to give her name said, "It's sad. We're just trying to figure things out."