‘Today’ Show Disrupted; Security & Police Subdue Man
First Published: February 22, 2011 11:53 AM EST Credit: The Today Show
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The “Today” show hosts had quite a wake up call Tuesday morning after a man interrupted their live broadcast.
“A man jumped over the barricade on the Plaza this morning during the ‘Today’ show. The situation was quickly handled by our security and the NYPD,” a rep for the show said in a statement to Access Hollywood.
Following the incident, hosts Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and guest co-host Willie Geist (who was filling in for Matt Lauer) returned to the studio and discussed what had just happened.
“Well, we’re certainly awake now. Boy,” Meredith said. “There was this gentleman behind the barrier there. And we started to talk, he just suddenly said – Al, you caught the words.”
“He said, ‘God’s gift to music,’ or, ‘I’ve got God’s gift.’” Al explained.
“And then – then he hurled himself over the barricade,” Meredith continued. “We’re very lucky that we have great security here that’s… on hand every day, and also the New York Police Department. So they were able to get him down on the ground very quickly, and hopefully it’ll--everything’s fine now.”
Following the incident, Ann Curry – who was inside the studio when the man approached her co-hosts – Tweeted, “Drama @todayshow: man suddenly jumped over the plaza guard rail, speaking incoherantly. All ok. Weirded out, but ok.”
According to the New York Post, police arrested a 33-year-old man from Brooklyn, shortly after the incident.
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department told Access that the man was been taken to a local area hospital for a psychological evaluation. Authorities said they took over the matter after security detained the man. No charges have been filed at this time.
Later on Tuesday, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke to reporters about the incident at a press conference.
“I can tell you that a young man jumped over the barricades, he has a sign that, something about God’s gift to singing, or something along those lines. There was, I think, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker were both on the air at the time. He got close to them, but we had officers there from the paid detail unit. They stopped him, he was taken to the hospital as an emotionally disturbed person. I don’t know what the disposition of that young man is. But nobody was hurt and I don’t believe the show was disrupted,” he told reporters.
Kelly went on to explain why the man wasn’t arrested, saying, “He’s first being processed as an emotionally disturbed person. He was taken to St. Luke’s and I assume he’s still being processed in that regard.”
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