A terroristic motive is not being ruled out in Thursday’s hatchet attack on New York City police officers.
The New York City police shot and killed a man identified as 32-year-old Zale Thompson in multiple media reports, who attacked officers with a hatchet in the middle of the day in the Queens section of the city.
Videotape and witness accounts appeared to show Thompson purposely targeting four rookie New York Police Department officers, police said. The man was seen minutes before the attack pulling a hatchet from his backpack and began swinging toward the officers, police said.
A possible terror connection to the ax attack has not been dismissed, police said, as the suspect’s alleged Facebook posts could be a cause for concern.
"This early on, we really cannot say yes or no to that question," Police Commissioner William Bratton said.
Police directed possible signs of a terrorist attack to the alleged posts that he wrote calling for a revolution on American soil.
"America's military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” the suspect allegedly posted on the social media site.
“They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death."
The suspect also calls for guerilla warfare.
"Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks... If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over."
The attack occurred at about 2 p.m. while the officers were standing together on foot patrol, police said. Without a word, Thompson swung at an officer who blocked the blow with his arm. Another officer was hit in the back of the head and fell to the ground.
The man raised his hatchet again, but two uninjured officers fired multiple rounds at the suspect. The bullets killed the assailant and wounded a female bystander, police said.
The officer was in critical but stable condition and was expected to undergo surgery. The woman who was struck by a stray bullet also was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the back.