A man armed with a meat cleaver slashed an off-duty New York officer in the head before being shot by police Thursday outside of Penn Station, authorities said. Two other officers were injured.
The incident occurred at 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue, near Madison Square Garden, just before 5:00 p.m.
Responding officers encountered a man trying to remove a boot from his car, NYPD Chief James O’Neill said. Upon the officers’ arrival, the suspect, identified by police as 32-year-old Akram Joudeh of Queens, produced an 11-inch meat cleaver and fled the scene on foot. Officers pursued the suspect and one deployed a Taser to no effect, police said.
After Joudeh jumped on top of a police car, an off-duty officer tried to apprehend him, but the suspect struck him in the head with the cleaver.
The unnamed detective was left with a 6-inch wound, and other officers shot the suspect multiple times. Three uniformed officers fired a total of 18 gunshots, police said.
“He was running down the street waving it,” an unnamed MTA worker told the New York Daily News. “The cops were chasing him.” The worker said the assailant struck the officer with the knife when he tried to disarm him.
Joudeh was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The off-duty detective was in serious condition, and two other officers involved in the pursuit had injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
Adam Pavley, who was nearby when the incident happened, described the chaotic scene to Gothamist. After the officers returned fire, he said, “panic ensued. Amtrak cops were swarming out of Penn like bees from their nest. People were running and knocking people over.”
A Fox News reporter tweeted video of the incident that captured police running and the sound of gunshots.
Other witnesses also posted photos and video on Twitter.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited the officers in the hospital, and praised them for their bravery.
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