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One New York police officer is in critical condition after being attacked by a hatchet-bearing man in Queens on Thursday, New York City Police Department officials confirmed, according to NY1.


Four rookie officers were posing for photos in the middle of the afternoon near Jamaica Avenue, according to the report, when the man, identified as 32-year-old Zale Thompson, came down on them with an 18.5-inch hatchet, the news site notes.

"Unprovoked and not speaking a word, the male then swung at one of the officers with a hatchet, striking his right arm," Police Commissioner William Bratton said of the incident. "After striking the officer, the suspect continues swinging the hatchet, striking a second officer in the head, causing him to fall to the sidewalk."


After Thompson hit the two officers, the other cops drew their weapons, shooting and killing the suspect.

"Four rookie cops, just starting out in their career, when the absolute unexpected happened; they responded in a way that really shows the power of not only their abilities and their commitment but their training," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, commending the new officers for their actions.

A 29-year-old woman was also accidentally struck in the lower back amid the gunfire.

The officer who suffered a wound to his head is in critical condition, NY1 notes. The other three victims are all expected to survive the attack, the news site reports.


Authorities are still investigating why Thompson attacked the group, and have obtained a search warrant for his computer, CBS News reports. According to CBS, his social media activities show that he converted to Islam and ranted about injustices in American society and oppression overseas. However, there was nothing clearly linking him to any terrorist groups, the authorities said.

A 2008 graduate of the College of New Rochelle, Thompson reportedly worked in information services at the college until about 2012. He had been discharged from the U.S. Navy for misconduct and had a record in California for domestic assault, CBS News notes.

Read more at NY1 and CBS News.

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