Zale Thompson, the man who attacked a group of New York City policemen with an ax last month, was a self-radicalized jihadist who spent days before the attack looking at extremist websites.
Two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell ABC News Thompson was obsessed with extremism and a desire to attack the U.S. “As of last Thursday, detectives had found 277 sites he visited within
last nine months that had something to do with al Qaeda, ISIS,
beheadings or jihad,” a police source tells ABC.
On October 23rd Thompson pulled an ax from a backpack and attack a group of four policemen as they were taking photos with tourists. Thompson was shot and killed but Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, was struck in the head and seriously injured. He was released from the hospital last week.
In the days prior to the attack, Thompson was staying at his father’s house. He spent most of his time alone viewing extremist websites. “Talk about brainwashing. This guy sat in his room for days at least three days straight, closed the door and just sat in front of his computer,” a source tells ABC News.
Thompson apparently wrote some kind of manifesto which was found on his computer. ABC reports that it said in part, “Chop off the head of the beast. If we can’t do it ‘there,’ we have to do it here.”
Authorities do not believe that Thompson was in contact with any terrorist organization. However, he may have been inspired to act by the lone wolf attack which took place in Ottawa, Canada one day before his attack.