A hatchet-wielding man has been shot and killed by police after he attacked a group of patrol officers, wounding two on a busy street in Queens, New York.
One of the officers was struck in the head and another in the arm during the attack, which occurred about 2 p.m. ET on Thursday. A bystander, a 29-year-old woman, was hit in the back by a stray police bullet as the assailant was engaged by the officers.
The New York Times reports:
“The burst of violence occurred on the sidewalk in front of a local department store where the four uniformed officers were standing on a regularly assigned foot patrol. A passer-by asked to photograph the officers, [Police Commissioner William J.] Bratton said at a news conference at a hospital where the officers with the head wound was being treated.
“As they did so, standing together, a man in a hooded green rain jacket approached quickly from down the block, pulled a hatchet from his clothes, raised it over his head and, appearing to say nothing, brought it down on the officers with two hands, video released by the police showed.”
Bratton, who would not rule out that the attack could have been connected to terrorism, said that investigators were still trying to confirm the identity of the assailant and determine a motive, according to The Associated Press.
The AP adds: “Security videotape and witness accounts appeared to leave no doubt that the man purposely targeted four rookie New York Police Department officers, police said. Moments before the attack, he 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.”