NEW YORK, New York–A man wielding a meat cleaver attacked three NYPD officers outside Penn Station in midtown Manhattan during the middle of rush hour Thursday.
The man was identified as 32-year-old Akram Joudeh of Queens. According to the NYPD, Joudeh had a lengthy criminal history of 15 prior arrests, the most recent in August involving the suspect carrying a knife outside a synagogue.
The incident occurred at 5 p.m in the part of 32nd street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. According to outgoing NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, officers were called to the scene with reports of a man attempting to remove a wheel lock boot from his vehicle.
When officers responded to the call, Joudeh pulled out an “11-inch meat cleaver from his waistband,” causing a foot chase between the officer and suspect.
The suspect injured one of the officers, who was off duty at that time, inflicting a six inch gash in the officer’s face. The off-duty detective spotted officers in pursuit of the suspect.
A taser was initially used to tame the suspect after he refused to drop the weapon, but it had no effect. The off-duty detective attempted to knock the weapon from the suspect’s hand, but was struck in the face. He is currently in surgery at Bellevue and is listed in serious condition.
Two uniformed cops sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the encounter.
“I want to commend them for their performance,” Bratton said. “We have a character running down the street, waving a cleaver. Despite that, the officers approached him, started to take him into custody, during which one of them received significant injuries to his face. At which time, based on preliminary investigation, officers fired sufficient rounds to stop the attack. I want to commend them for their bravery and performance of duty.”
Eighteen shots were fired by three officers at the suspect after the attack on the detective, striking the suspect several times. According to the NYPD, the suspect was not killed and is also in Bellevue Hospital, listed in critical but stable condition.
The NYPD didn’t state the motive behind Thursday’s attack as the investigation is still ongoing.
Two years ago, a similar incident involving a group of NYPD officers occurred in Queens where the suspect ambushed the officer with a hatchet. The suspect, Zale Thompson, was a self-radicalized terrorist who gashed an NYPD cop in the head with the 18-inch axe. Thompson was shot and killed.