NYPD Commissioner: Queens Hatchet Attack Suspect Acted Alone
By Jonathan Dienst
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Suspect in hatchet attack
Friday, Oct 24, 2014 • Updated at 4:39 PM EDT
Investigators were working Friday to determine why a man attacked a group of NYPD officers with a hatchet before they shot him dead, but the city's top cop said he was certain of one thing -- "this was a terror attack."
"We at this time believe that he acted alone," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Friday. "We would describe him as self-radicalized. We would describe him as self-directed in his activities."
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Asked directly if Thompson could be considered a homegrown terrorist or a "lone wolf," investigators said "it appears at this point" that terror was the suspect's "intent," though police stressed the investigation was in its preliminary stages.
It wasn't clear if the attack was premeditated.
Suspect in Hatchet Attack on NYPD Officers
[NY] Suspect in Hatchet Attack on NYPD Officers
Surveillance video of the suspect in a hatchet attack on NYPD officers on a Queens street Thursday. One officer is in critical condition and another is in stable condition. The suspect was shot dead by other officers (Published Thursday, Oct 23, 2014)
Police obtained a warrant to search Zale Thompson's computer for clues about Thursday's daytime assault in Queens, which left one officer with a serious head injury. Thompson's activity on social media indicated he was a convert to Islam and included rants about injustices in American society and oppression abroad but offered no clear evidence of any affiliation with terror groups, police said.
Thompson charged a group of four officers with the 18-inch hatchet as they posed for a picture by a freelance photographer on a Jamaica street corner, striking one officer in the head and another in the arm, authorities said. The two other officers opened fire, killing Thompson.
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Detectives say Thompson was still holding the hatchet when he was pronounced dead. The attack -- and the shooting -- happened in less than 10 seconds, Bratton said.
"Those officers exhibited extraordinary bravery and skill in not only taking down an individual who was intent on killing them but also rendering first aid immediately to their fallen comrade," Bratton said.
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Moments before the attack, the bearded suspect was seen on a street corner crouching down to pull the hatchet out of backpack before he charged the officers and began swinging the hatchet with a two-handed grip, police said.
The two police officers who were hurt remained at the hospital Friday. A 29-year-old woman hit by police crossfire during the attack is also still at the hospital; she was listed in critical but stable condition.
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Thompson had six prior arrests in California in 2003 and 2004, mostly on domestic charges, authorities said. His only point of contact with the NYPD was in 1998 -- as a victim of assault. Thompson was involuntarily discharged from the military in 2003 after a three-year stint, possibly because of drugs, officials said. A weaponized ax and a hunting knife were recovered from his home.
A review of some of the suspect's social media postings and interviews with people who know him paint a picture of a disturbed loner who was angry about what he said was oppression of black Americans in the U.S., according to the officials.
Oh F him - typical worthless racist thug