NJ Cops in Fatal Library Shooting Allege Suspect Charged at Them With Knife

Lyndhurst, N.J., police gunned down Kevin Allen at the city’s public library May 29, 2015.
NBC 4 New York screenshot
Lyndhurst, N.J., police gunned down Kevin Allen at the city’s public library May 29, 2015.
NBC 4 New York screenshot

Thirty-six-year-old Kevin Allen allegedly brandished a knife and charged at police during an altercation that led to his fatal shooting at a public library that took place in broad daylight in front of students who were there to study, according to The Guardian.


Lyndhurst, N.J., Police Chief James O’Connor announced Saturday at a late-night news conference that Allen was wanted for violating probation terms of a work-release program and that an officer recognized him as he entered the Lyndhurst Public Library around 1.30 p.m. on Friday, the report says.

The officer then confronted Allen on the third floor of the building, where Allen is said to have resisted arrest by struggling with the police officer, O’Connor said. Police said Allen then pulled a knife when a second officer arrived and “charged” at the pair, writes the news site.

“He brandished the knife,” O’Connor told reporters, after the officers had “just prior” tried to use pepper spray and their batons. “Mr Allen still went after them aggressively and left them no choice but to deploy deadly force.

“There was nothing else they could have done,” he said, reports the news outlet.

As gunfire rang out, people fled the library, and administrators later closed the building as more police arrived to investigate the shooting, the report says. Allen was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at about 3.30 p.m. The officers involved in the shooting did not sustain physical injuries but also went to the hospital to be treated for shock, writes the news outlet.

When asked whether gunfire from the officers could have endangered bystanders, O’Connor said, “We’ll review what occurred here today, and review what steps we can take in the future to hopefully prevent that from occurring again,” the report says.

Police have said they are interviewing a number of witnesses, including a child, the report says.


The library is normally open on Saturdays, but a sign hanging in its window said that it would be closed for the weekend, notes the news site.

The library is adjacent to the city’s Police Department. How difficult would it have been for the officers to subdue and apprehend Allen as he exited the building? Let us know your thoughts in comments.

Read more at The Guardian.