It was a frightening afternoon yesterday in Queens, New York when a 32-year-old man attacked four rookie police officers with a hatchet, landing two in the hospital — one of them in critical condition.
The officers were on foot patrol when a freelance photographer asked them to pose for a picture. That’s when the hatchet-wielding assailant, who has since been identified as Zale H. Thompson, attacked.
According to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, he struck one officer in the right arm and another in the head. Before he could continue his attack, the two other officers who weren’t hit drew their weapons, shooting and killing him.
The 25-year-old officer who was struck in the head is currently in critical condition, while the 24-year-old who was hit in the arm is in stable condition and expected to be released soon. A 29-year-old woman who was near the assault was hit in the back by a stray police bullet. She underwent surgery and is recovering.
With this week’s recent events in Canada on everyone’s mind, there were questions about whether or not the attack was tied to terrorism. To this, Bratton said, “there is nothing we know as of this time that would indicate that were the case.” This was reinforced Friday morning when a senior law enforcement official told CNN that investigators do not believe that Thompson, a Muslim convert, was motivated by any radical Islamic views.
The above video shows surveillance footage of the attacker just before the assault. Below is the raw footage.