At approximately 2 p.m. yesterday near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street, four officers on foot patrol were asked by a freelance photographer to pose for a photo. They were standing together when the man ran up to them and said nothing before swinging an 18-inch-long metal hatchet.
Officer Joseph Meeker was struck in the arm and Officer Kenneth Healey was struck in the head. The two remaining officers opened fire on the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Zale Thompson, killing him. In the melee, a 29-year-old woman near the scene was struck by a bullet in the lower back. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she is recovering from surgery.
Both officers were also taken to Jamaica Hospital. Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition, while Meeker, 24, is in stable condition.
Police were investigating whether Thompson had ties to terrorism. On his Facebook page, he had a recent conversation with a friend about terrorism.
Police don't believe that the photographer who asked the cops to pose for a photo was linked to Thompson.
All four officers were recent graduates of the Police Academy, joining the force on July 8. They are assigned to the 103rd Precinct Partner Officer Program.
An internal memo leaked to the press warned officers to be aware of possible terror attacks in light of the Jamaica incident and the recent attack on law enforcement officers in Ottawa, Canada.
“Police officers on patrol should maintain a heightened level of awareness,” read the memo to NYPD supervisors. “Please remind your personnel to remain vigilant at all times in order to prevent attacks and injuries.”