Zale Thompson, the convert to Islam who attempted to kill two NYPD officers with his ax, had been visiting hundreds of websites belonging to jihadists loyal to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) over past months.
Thompson had reportedly become fascinated with the terrorists’ tactics, such as beheadings and violent acts of jihad, before his own violent act in late October.
A police source told ABC News that Thompson had become obsessed with Islamic ideology. “As of last Thursday, detectives had found 277 sites he visited within the last nine months that had something to do with al-Qaeda, ISIS, beheadings, or jihad,” said the official. “He’s been all over the charts.”
The source also mentioned that Thompson had created a “manifesto,” which describes how he wanted to “seek them out, watch them and then attack them. Chop off the head of the beast. If we can do it ‘there’ [in the Middle East], we have to do it here.”
Thompson became so preoccupied with his jihadi ideology that he reportedly locked himself in his father’s home for at least three days, watching nothing but jihadist websites, sources stated.
He had previously expressed jihadists sentiments on social media sites YouTube and Facebook, commenting on pro-Islamic State videos and changing his profile picture to a man resembling an Islamic warrior.
Thompson was shot dead by police after attempting to conduct jihad upon two officers. Recently released footage shows Thompson had been conducting surveillance on the officers before choosing to attack them.
“There’s a video, very distant, about two blocks up, that shows him at the top of the frame,” the official told ABC News. “He stays there about two minutes. Then, he bends over and then bolts, charges down the street, charging at the cops with the ax. You can see him watching, down the block.”
Another source added, “The two pairs of cops were patrolling separately but they came together. Very evidently, he was waiting, he was watching him. And then when he saw them together, in the alcove in front of the buildings taking the picture, he figured ‘now’s the time.'”