The homeless man made his first emergency call to police at 6 a.m. yesterday.

From a call box in the below-ground concourse of the Municipal Services Building, he kept calling - and hanging up.

Calling - and hanging up.

After the 40th time, a police officer was dispatched at 8:25 to see what was going on.

What started as a response to disorderly conduct ended with two police officers fatally shooting the homeless man - the 12th person killed by city police this year.

Police were withholding the identity of the 59-year-old man pending notification of his family, said Sgt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman.

Evers said the man had no identification on him and had to be identified using fingerprints.

Homicide and Internal Affairs units are investigating the shooting. Both officers, whose names were not released, have been on the force for more than 20 years.

After arriving on the scene, a foot-patrol officer was joined by a bike officer. Evers said that as the foot-patrol officer approached the man, he was again using the emergency call box.

"He confronted him, saying, 'What are you doing? You can't do that,' " Evers said.

A security guard inside the municipal building, who did not give her name, said she saw the officers chase the man through a tunnel leading to the concourse.

Once he was outside and near a bench where he often slept, the man pulled out a utility knife.

Evers said the knife was the type used to cut drywall or carpet. "The officer tells him over 50 times to drop the knife," Evers said.

Police said he lunged at the officers. They fired, hitting the man in the torso.

The victim was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital at 9:02 a.m.

On any other weekday, the area would have been busy at that hour with people heading to work or to nearby criminal and municipal courts, which were closed for the Fourth of July holiday.

Paul Tolis, who operates a coffee cart at the top of the concourse, said the homeless man had been in the area daily in recent months. A bench where he slept was padded with cardboard. Police said they collected some of his belongings from the scene, along with the knife.

The underground corridors around City Hall and Suburban Station draw daily nighttime crowds of homeless men and women. The last time the city conducted a spot-count of the Center City homeless population, on May 20, there were 189 people sleeping in underground public spaces.

Transit police typically move people out of public areas before dawn with little incident.

Police are trained to call the city's homeless outreach teams if they encounter disruptive people and are coached on how to intervene with mentally ill people during a crisis.

Many people who live on the streets suffer from mental illness. The city's Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services estimates that 85 percent have severe mental illness, addictions, or both.