A hatchet-wielding man attacked four rookie cops on a New York City street yesterday, and investigators are trying to determine whether attacker Zale Thompson was obeying calls from radical leaders to attack soldiers and police officers. The 32-year-old man attacked the officers as they posed for a photo, striking one officer in the arm before hitting another in the head, reports DNA Info. Thompson was then shot dead by the two uninjured officers, who police sources say fired a total of 19 rounds; a stray round hit a bystander in the lower back. She is in stable condition after surgery, while the officer hit in the head has a fractured skull and is still in critical condition.
Asked whether the attack was connected to terrorism, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the motive is still unknown, but "certainly the heightened concern is relative to that type of assault based on what just happened in Canada," CNN reports. Thompson, a Queens resident, was discharged from the Navy for misconduct and has a criminal record in California, according to police sources, who tell the New York Daily News he recently had a Facebook conversation about terrorism. The other party in the conversation says Thompson "said there were things that needed to be done—nonviolent, collective action," but also "said the people can’t take up arms against law enforcement; it would be suicide."