2014 Queens hatchet attack

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2014 Queens hatchet attack
Location Jamaica (Queens, New York City), New York
Date October 23, 2014 (2014-10-23)
c. 2:00 p.m. EDT
Attack type
Lone-wolf terrorism
Weapons Hatchet
Deaths 1 (the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
3 (2 officers directly, 1 civilian by stray gunfire)
Perpetrator Zale H. Thompson

On October 23, 2014, a hatchet-wielding man, Zale H. Thompson, attacked four New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers on a crowded sidewalk in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Officer Kenneth Healey was struck in the head, while Officer Joseph Meeker was injured in the arm. Also injured was a female civilian, who was struck by a stray bullet when two other officers shot and killed the perpetrator. Investigators discovered that Thompson was a recent Muslim convert.[1] His attack was classified as an act of terrorism.[2]

Attack[edit]

On October 23, 2014, Thompson approached a group of four New York City police officers from behind in the rain in Jamaica. He had previously been hiding behind a bus shelter. They were posing for a photograph taken by a freelance photographer on Jamaica Avenue, near Union Hall Street.[3][4]

Thompson took out an 18-inch metal hatchet from a backpack, charged the group and brought it down into the back of one of the officer's heads.[5] In the ensuing altercation, a second officer was wounded and Thompson was shot dead by the two uninjured officers. Both of the wounded police officers had been on the job for only four months.[2][6] While attempting to shoot Thompson, the officers also wounded a female civilian who was struck in the lower back by a stray bullet.[2][7][8]

Victims[edit]

25-year-old police officer Kenneth Healey was critically wounded after Thompson's hatchet struck the side of his head and fractured his skull. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, also suffered a slash wound to the right arm. In addition, a 29-year-old civilian woman suffered a gunshot wound in her lower back, which was inflicted by a stray bullet fired by police officers as they were shooting at Thompson. The woman was initially in critical condition, but was stabilized after doctors performed surgery on her. Officer Meeker was treated at a hospital, but was released on the same day. Officer Healey remained in a Queens hospital, listed in critical but stable condition until October 29, when he left the hospital by ambulance to a rehabilitation facility. He walked the last few steps into the ambulance while being cheered by 200 fellow officers and fans.[1][3][9]

Perpetrator[edit]

Zale Thompson
Born Zale H. Thompson
c. 1982
Died October 23, 2014 (age 32)
Queens, New York
Cause of death Gunshot wounds
Nationality American
Alma mater College of New Rochelle, Rosa Parks campus

Zale H. Thompson (c. 1982 – October 23, 2014), also known as Zaim Farouq Abdul-Malik, was identified as the assailant.[2] He was a graduate of the Rosa Parks Campus in Harlem, an adult-education program of the College of New Rochelle,[7] and attended Teachers College, Columbia University from 2009 to 2010, but left before he could earn a degree.[3] He also served in the U.S. Navy, being involuntarily discharged in 2003. Between 2002 and 2003, he had been arrested six different times in southern California for domestic disputes. When he was sixteen, he was the victim of an assault, although further details about the incident were unclear.[2][10]

Thompson was described by acquaintances as an advocate of black power and was a recent convert to Islam. He had moved from Brooklyn to Queens before the attack.[7] In the nine months preceding the attack, Thompson visited hundreds of websites regarding designated terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and ISIL, as well as regarding "acts of violence."[11] He also made several online posts railing against government, whites, injustices in American society, oppression abroad, and the Western world in general.[2][10] On Facebook, he had an online conversation with another man regarding the topic of terrorism, although both of them derided the subject.[3] Officials stated that Thompson was not tied to any international extremists or watch lists.[8] Investigating officers discovered a manifesto on his personal computer expressing his wish to attack government figures "here" if he couldn't fight them "there."[11]

Aftermath[edit]

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton described the attack as an "act of terror" on October 24. Police officers seized several computers from the home of Thompson's father and searched them.[2]

The attack took place one day after the Ottawa Parliament shootings and three days after the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack, both of which were carried out by recent converts to Islam, and were described as lone wolf terror attacks. Media attention on the Queens attack questioned whether it was motivated by the jihadist group ISIS encouraging sympathizers to carry out terror attacks in their home countries.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Prokupecz, Shimon; Conlon, Kevin (October 24, 2014). "NYPD: Hatchet attack an act of terror". CNN.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kearney, Laila (October 24, 2014). "NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism". Reuters.
  3. ^ a b c d Nolan, Caitlin; Burke, Kerry; Parascandola, Rocco; Stepansky, Joseph; Tracy, Thomas (October 24, 2014). "Hatchet-wielding man shot dead by NYPD cops in Queens; police eye possible terrorism motive". New York Daily News.
  4. ^ Prokupecz, Shimon; Botelho, Greg (October 24, 2014). "Man attacks New York police officers with a hatchet". CNN.
  5. ^ Landy, Benjamin (October 23, 2014). "Hatchet-wielding man attacks NYPD officers". MSNBC.
  6. ^ Tanner, Jeremy; Cole, Kirstin (October 23, 2014). "NYPD concerned hatchet attack may be linked to terrorism". PIX11 (WPIX)/CNN.
  7. ^ a b c Celona, Larry; Fenton, Reuven; Conley, Kirstan; Italiano, Laura (October 24, 2014). "Islam convert shot dead after ax attack on NYPD cops". The New York Post.
  8. ^ a b Hays, Tom (October 24, 2014). "NYC Police Commissioner: Hatchet Attack Was Terror". ABC News. AP.
  9. ^ Sandoval, Edgar; Hutchinson, Bill (October 29, 2014). "NYPD hatchet victim leaves Queens hospital to cheers of fellow officers". New York Daily News.
  10. ^ a b "New York hatchet attack was terrorist act by homegrown radical, police say". The Guardian (UK). AP. October 24, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Pleasance, Chris (November 4, 2014). "Hatchet-wielding Muslim radical who attacked rookie New York cops 'spent months visiting jihadist websites and stalked officers for hours'". Daily Mail.
  12. ^ "New York police brand hatchet attack 'terrorist' act". Yahoo - ABC News Network. AFP. October 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Leventhal, Rick; Fishel, Justin; The Associated Press (October 24, 2014). "Terror connection not ruled out in hatchet attack, police say". Fox News.
  14. ^ Roberts, Gareth (October 24, 2014). "Caught on camera: The terrifying moment mad man attacks police with HATCHET before being shot dead". Mirror (UK).

Coordinates: 40°42′13″N 73°47′57″W / 40.703740°N 73.799138°W / 40.703740; -73.799138