NYPD hatchet attacker could have extremist leanings
A man now identified as Zale Thompson attacked four New York Police Department officers with a hatchet near New York bus station Thursday afternoon, igniting fears of terror attacks in Western countries in the wake of the Canda shootings earlier this week.
Footage from the Queens burough subway station shows a hooded Thompson pulling the hatchet from his backpack and swinging round the corner to lunge at the officers, striking one in the arm and another in the shoulder before being shot and killed by the other two officers. A 29-year-old bystander was also wounded in the gunfire.
One officer remains in critical but stable condition after a blow to the head, while the other is expected to be released from the hospital soon.
A search of Thompson's computer revealed he'd recently converted to Islam and had made frequent comments on social media platforms about his dissatisfaction what he deamed as injustices of the American society.
Investigators, however, were not able to identify a concrete connection between Thompson and any terror organization and are do not currently believe the attack is charged by extremist views.
According to sources, Thompson has a criminal record in California and is a previous member of the U.S. Navy, but was reportedly dischared for misconduct.
The attack follows the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier in Ottawa, by a man described as having "connections" to a jihad network in Canada, one of whom had recently gone to Syria to fight. In a separate incident on Monday, another Canadian soldier in Qebec was run down and killed by a driver who investigators say had been 'radicalized.'
While the investigators in New York City say they are not currently considering the attack extremist-related, they say the connection has not yet been ruled out.