New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

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Act of terror? Suspect Zale Thompson can be seen swinging a hatchet towards police officers at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in Jamaica, Queens

Act of terror? Suspect Zale Thompson can be seen swinging a hatchet towards police officers at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in Jamaica, Queens

By Shaun Gibson : @ShaunyNews

Police say they were investigating whether Thompson’s attack on the cops was linked to Islamic terrorism. ISIS has urged fighters to launch lone wolf attacks in the United States. Thompson’s Facebook page features a photograph of a man dressed in Middle Eastern garb and a cover photo displaying Arabic writing. Two attacks in Canada this week by radicalized converts to Islam have killed two Canadian soldiers.  In one, a man ran down two soldiers in his car in Quebec, killing one, before being shot dead. On Wednesday a convicted felon ambushed a soldier outside Canadian Parliament, fatally wounding him, before running the Parliament building and opening fire.  DNA info reports that on Thursday afternoon a freelance photographer approached the group of rookie cops and asked to take their photograph. As the officers were posing for the camera, Thompson charged towards them swinging an 18.5 inch hatchet without uttering a single word. One 24-year-old officer was slashed in the arm

A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group of New York City police officers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said. The officers were on foot patrol when they were asked by a freelance photographer to pose for a picture on a Queens street at about 2 p.m., a New York Police Department spokesman said. Suddenly a man carrying a hatchet charged the officers, swinging it and striking one officer in the right arm and then swinging it again and striking a second officer in the head, the spokesman said. The remaining two officers fired their weapons at the man, hitting him. The suspect, whose identity was not yet confirmed but who was said to be approximately 32 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Unprovoked attack: Police gather around the suspect they fatally shot in Queens after he lunged at them with and hatchet and slashed two of them in an unprovoked attack

Unprovoked attack, Police gather around the suspect they fatally shot in Queens after he lunged at them with and hatchet and slashed two of them in an unprovoked attack

A 29-year-old female bystander was struck by a stray bullet. She underwent surgery and was recovering at the hospital, the spokesman said. Both officers were being treated at Jamaica Hospital, with the 25-year-old officer who was hit in the head undergoing surgery and in critical condition. The other officer, who is 24 years old, was in stable condition, the spokesman said. “At this point, no known motive for this attack has been established,” Police Commissioner William Bratton told a press conference. Another 25-year-old officer was slashed in the back of head and taken to Jamaica Hospital where he is being treated in critical condition, reports CBS.
The two remaining police shot at Thompson who dropped his hatchet then died at the scene.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he’s not ruling out terrorism especially in the wake of recent terror attacks in Canada, reports CNN. ‘There is nothing we know as of this time that would indicate that were the case. I think certainly the heightened concern is relative to that type of assault based on what just happened in Canada,’ said Bratton. CNN reports that Thompson has a criminal record in California and that he was discharged from the U.S. Navy for misconduct. Details of his criminal record and his misconduct are not known at this time. His Facebook page says that Thompson graduated from Columbia Teacher’s College and that he resides in Queens. CNN reports that New York police were alerted to be on the lookout for random attacks following Thursday’s incident.  DNA Info spoke with witnesses on the scene.

Zale Thompson's Facebook page

Zale Thompson’s Facebook page

The scene: NYPD officers shot dead a man armed with a hatchet who attacked them Thursday afternoon and critically injured a 29-year-old female bystander in the process

The scene: NYPD officers shot dead a man armed with a hatchet who attacked them Thursday afternoon and critically injured a 29-year-old female bystander in the process

Police declined to comment on media reports that the attack was tied to terrorism and that an internal memo urged officers to maintain a heightened level of awareness in the wake of recent attacks in Canada. All four officers involved in the New York City incident graduated on July 8 from the city Police Academy. People who witnessed this came forward,  ‘We heard pop, pop, pop, pop,’ said Rafael, 44, who works at Overseas Travel nearby where the incident occurred. ‘She was screaming,”‘Help me.” She couldn’t get up,’ said Ericka Babb, a medical assistant at Priority Medical Centre in Queens. ‘We were way too scared,’ said Rafael.

Officers say they shot the hatchet-yielding suspect but it’s not clear how many rounds were fired. ‘It was a completely unprovoked attack,’ said NYPD Chief Kim Royster, a department spokeswoman. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said during a news conference that all of the police involved are recent graduates of this summer’s Police Academy class. ‘Three rookie cops, absolutely modest about what happened today and what they did,’ de Blasio said. During the conference Bill De Blasio lauded the officers’ training and their fast response to the unprovoked attack.

Praise: Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hold up a photo of the scene on Thursday and says that the group of recent Police Academy graduates handled the situation as best they could

Praise, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hold up a photo of the scene on Thursday and says that the group of recent Police Academy graduates handled the situation as best they could

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