Despite committing a terrorist act, a hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was not connected to any terrorist organizations, confirmed police sources.
A hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was likely “just an angry guy” and was not connected to any terrorist organizations, confirmed police sources while emphasizing that the act itself was a terrorist act.
The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city’s borough of Queens.
The officers were on foot patrol when they were asked by a freelance photographer to pose for a picture on a street in Queens at about 2pm, a New York Police Department spokesman said.
A man carrying a hatchet charged the officers, hitting one officer in the right arm and then striking a second officer in the head, the spokesman said.
The remaining two officers fired their weapons at the man. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
The law enforcement official identified the suspect as Zale H. Thompson, who had a criminal record in California and had been discharged from the Navy for misconduct.
Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.
All four officers involved in the incident graduated on 8 July from the city’s police academy.
Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.
Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven’t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.
“At this point, no known motive for this attack has been established,” police commissioner William Bratton told a press conference.
However, Bratton acknowledged concern because of recent attacks on uniformed officers. “I think certainly the heightened concern is relative to that type of assault based on what just happened in Canada,” he said.
On Wednesday, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed as he stood guard at Canada’s National War Memorial before shots erupted in the halls of the country’s Parliament minutes later.