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Cambridge officers fatally shoot man they say charged them with a large knife already covered in his own blood

Updated with latest account from Cambridge PD.

A Cambridge police officer fatally shot a local man police say was advancing on him and other officers with a large knife after leading them on a foot chase for several blocks and after a "less lethal" projectile failed to stop him, Cambridge Police say.

The incident began shortly after 1 p.m. on Sidney Street and ended on Chestnut Street.

Sayed Faisal, 20, of Cambridge, was taken to Mass. General, where he died, Cambridge Police report.

Cambridge and State Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's office are now investigating the incident.

Police provided this account:

Cambridge Emergency Communications received a 911 call from a Cambridgeport resident, who had witnessed a man jump out of the window of a neighboring apartment and further reported that the man was in possession of a machete. Additional information is now available. The caller said that he appeared to be cutting himself with both the weapon, later identified as a kukri knife and broken window glass.

Multiple paramedics and officers were initially dispatched to the scene and located the male, identified as Sayed Faisal, 20, of Cambridge, bleeding in an alley behind a Sidney Street building.

The preliminary investigation suggests that Faisal reportedly ran with the knife after observing police, traveling through several blocks in the Cambridgeport neighborhood before officers attempted to verbally engage with him on Chestnut Street, requesting that he put the knife down. The man reportedly moved towards the officers while still in possession of the weapon.

An officer discharged a less-than-lethal sponge round in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. That round was unsuccessful in stopping Faisal. He continued to advance towards officers in possession of the weapon. One officer discharged this department-issued firearm and struck Faisal. He was immediately rendered medical aid on the scene by officers until EMS arrived. Faisal was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he later died.

Police said anyone with information or with video of the incident should contact them.

Statements by DA Marian Ryan and Police Commissioner Christine Elow:

Free tagging: 


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Even reading the account from Live Boston, usually a source of pure copaganda, it sounds like the police did everything the could to set up the conditions where they would be "forced" to shoot this man. They knew they were dealing with an emotionally disturbed person who was in danger of harming himself. When they confronted him, they kept escalating and escalating until they finally provoked someone who was in danger of harming himself into threatening to harm the police, giving them an excuse to shoot him.

Voting closed 48

Deleting my comment. I think I misinterpreted what you were saying the first time I read it.

Voting closed 5

A lot of the time, LiveBoston will demonize and use somewhat offensive language when describing the perp/suspect (using terms like "junkie," "thugs," "wannabe gangsters").

I've noticed they've been doing that a lot less in the past year, and seemingly trying to look like a legitimate source of news. Look at many of their older posts. There tended to be a lot of thinly veiled racism, and very little sympathy for addicts and homeless people. It came off very childish.

Voting closed 46

ACAB* and Live Boston is totally racist ableist copaganda, but it sounds like this was unfortunately an incident of suicide-by-cop.

*except for Pete Nice

Voting closed 47

Pathetic on all fronts Troll.

Voting closed 53

She’s an OG. She’s been here longer than you, and you’ve been here a while.

Voting closed 66

Like Ice-T circa 1989?

Wow, she's going to be great on the 91 Lolapolooza Tour. She and Henry Rollins are going to steal the show from the headliners.

Voting closed 22

coming from a dude who asserts his place of birth, and memories as such, as an argument.

Voting closed 25

On the old WGC site. Maybe earlier.

Voting closed 9

you think they set it up so they could kill him? do you think the cop/cops who shot him are at a pub drinking cold beers and high fiving each other for doing such a great job setting it up so they could kill a mentally ill guy who was cutting himself with a machete? i know the majority of this site is anti cop and that’s fine but i don’t think anyone wants to set it up so they can shoot a guy who was obviously struggling with demons. you’re an idiot chaosjake. my prayers go out to this poor guy AND the cambridge officers that were forced to do a very difficult job today.

Voting closed 175

When George Floyd was killed in Minnesota, some folks asked me (I lived there for a while) if I was surprised. Nope, not after Philando Castile and a bunch of other times they've shot first and asked questions later. Which seems to go for a lot of police encounters, often with people completely unarmed. But it seems to be less of the case around here. When the cops shoot someone, they usually seem to have tried several other methods or are already being attacked.

And without going all ACAB, no, I don't think the cops around here do a stellar job. Not even close. But let's give them at least a little bit of credit for not going around shooting every thing that moves (especially if it's not white).

Look what happened here. A person was running around a residential neighborhood with a large knife.

it sounds like the police did everything the could to set up the conditions where they would be "forced" to shoot this man.

According to OP, apparently the police gave the deceased the knife and had him run around the neighborhood, or something?

They knew they were dealing with an emotionally disturbed person who was in danger of harming himself.

I mean, did they run a psychoanalytic observation of the guy? They got a report of someone running around with a machete covered in blood. The guy had been seen jumping out of a window with a knife. Did they know whether he had harmed someone in that building? Was he a threat to others? Had he already harmed someone else? With that kind of information, who knows.

They did not know whether he was in danger of harming himself or if it was more likely that he might harm someone else. That's kind of the reason we have police, right?

When they confronted him, they kept escalating and escalating

The guy ran from the cops. What were they supposed to do, let him go and take a jog around Cambridge with a large knife covered in blood? Please, OP, enlighten us. I'm sure that wouldn't have caused any issues. Hey, there's a guy with a huge knife covered in blood running around Cambridgeport mid-afternoon and the cops let him run. That seems fine.

Then they asked him to put the knife down. That's deescalation! What do you want them to do? He then moved towards the officers. OP suggests he was provoked to do this. Yes, after the officers had asked him to put the knife down he moved towards them, that was provocation, but on whose part?

Then they fired a less-than-lethal round at him. And he continued moving towards them!

they finally provoked someone who was in danger of harming himself into threatening to harm the police, giving them an excuse to shoot him.

How does OP know that? Even now, we don't know that he was a threat to himself more than to anyone else? In the middle of this confrontation, how are the police supposed to know this? He had run from them with a weapon, not surrendered, moved towards them, been hit by a beanbag and continued to move towards them, and they should have thought "well, he doesn't want to harm us, or anyone else, just himself?" Maybe that was the case, but how do you know? You don't. They didn't, either.

There are a lot of police who would have shot at the guy the minute they observed him. Guy with knife covered in blood runs from the police? Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! They didn't. There were several times over the course of several blocks and, I assume, several minutes where the police could have shot the guy and probably would have been justified in doing so. They didn't. Was this the best possible outcome? Most certainly it was not. But let's give the cops here some credit for not being as trigger-happy as some of their brethren. Is that admittedly a low bar? Yes. But it is one that they clear.

Voting closed 42

like, you had guns, and the crazy bastard had a knife. you can't shoot his feet?

how is it possible that police do not have a procedure/training in place that they shoot this guy in the feet and spare his life?

less lethal methods failed? that does not appear to be an adequate explanation here. would it not have been less lethal to shoot his feet?

how do we go from "pepper ball pepper ball pepper ball" to the guy takes a few rounds in vital organs?

it looks really sick for the cops on this one. sucks to be them, but people are starting to be able to ask these questions. bad for cops, but good for justice.

Voting closed 18

Are you serious, Joe Pesci? Do you understand how hard it is to shoot a moving target the size of a foot? Maybe they should have tried to shoot the knife out of his hand.

I'm not a huge fan of the police, but I think it's acceptable to shoot a mentally ill person charging at you with a knife.

Voting closed 76

His family's all rats, he'd have grown up to be a rat.

Voting closed 9

I say yes.

Voting closed 13

or a mink coat on the missus.

Voting closed 9

In the real world, "shoot to maim" is not a thing. (Not when someone is coming at you, at least.) Aiming is hard, and shooting at someone in a city—you remembered to check what's *behind* your target, right?—is harder. If you aim at something narrow like a foot or leg and miss, you've not only had to take longer to aim, but also lost precious seconds and probably also caused a ricochet that will hit god knows what.

When you shoot at someone, it's to kill, and you aim at center of mass. Don't want that? Don't shoot.

Voting closed 33

If you are using deadly force, you are doing so to neutralize an imminent threat to life, be it yours or someone else's life. Someone charging at you with a knife is a threat to your life safety.

As a private citizen, you would be protected by the law in shooting someone to death (with a lawfully possessed firearm) if they charged at you with a knife without provocation.

Voting closed 30

In a sensible society that did not rely on police shaped pegs to fill mental health based holes this man would still be alive. Police have no strategy to deal with crisis except escalation and it really shows in moments like this.

Voting closed 28

they are not--nor should they be--trained for this.

Voting closed 10

With latest police statement.

Voting closed 6

All big knives are not machetes.

I personally owned a Kukri which I purchased from the dirty book store that used to be next to the Pilgrim Theater in the Combat Zone. I showed it to a cop in Egelston Station on my way home on the El asking him if it was legal. He said it was, but only because the Kukri and the Chakmak and Karda that came with it in the sheath were beyond not sharp they were blunted. BTW, the Chakmak is supposed to be blunt.

Also the knife used in the Times Square New Year's attack was a Bolo knife, not a machete. They could be used as a machete in some cases but a Kukri knife is definitely not a machete. Both the Kukri and the Bolo are multipurpose knives.

Voting closed 16