An NYPD rookie is in critical condition and another police officer is in stable condition after being attacked by a man wielding a hatchet on a Queens street Thursday, police said.
Two other officers fired on the man, stopping the attack. The assailant was pronounced dead at the scene. A 29-year-old female bystander was also struck by a bullet and underwent surgery at Jamaica Hospital, where she’s recovering, officials said.
The officers, all recent graduates of the Police Academy assigned to the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, were asked to pose for a picture by a freelance photographer at the intersection of 162nd Street and Jamaica Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. when the man attacked them from behind, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
The suspect “charged at the officers with a hatchet in his hand,” Bratton said. “Unprovoked and not speaking a word, the male then swung at one of the officers with a hatchet, striking his right arm. After striking that officer, the suspect continuing swinging the hatchet, striking a second officer in the head.”
It wasn’t clear what provoked the attack, Bratton said. The metal hatchet was about 18 inches long.
Authorities were working to confirm the identity of the assailant, Bratton said.
The 25-year-old officer who was struck in the head, Taylor Kraft, was undergoing surgery and his family, several of whom are NYPD members, was keeping vigil at Jamaica Hospital, Bratton said. The 24-year-old officer who was struck in the arm, Joseph Meeker, was expected to be released from the hospital later Thursday.
Following the attacks on uniformed soldiers in Canada on Wednesday, the NYPD issued a warning for officers to be in a heightened state of awareness.
One thinks that this is not coincidental with timing of the Canada attacks. Here’s his Facebook page:
The hatchet-wielding man who attacked four NYPD officers earlier today and was then shot dead by police may have had ties to ISIS, sources told Vocativ.
Law-enforcement sources we spoke with identified Zale Thompson as the armed man who charged at a group of NYPD uniformed police assembled on a street corner in Jamaica, Queens, at around 2 p.m. today. The 32-year-old Muslim, who lived in Queens, struck one of the officers in the back of the head with his hatchet and gashed another on the arm, the police said.
Pics of the attacker, dead in the background. One of the injured officers is in the foreground. He is in critical condition. Another officer was slashed in the arm, and a woman passerby was hit by an errant bullet in the gunfire and seriously wounded.
Video of start of attack: