Two police officers were attacked with a machete in New York City on New Year’s Eve, just blocks from Times Square. The incident occurred around 9:30 pm on West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue.
In response to the attack, one of the officers fired their service weapon, hitting the suspect in the shoulder.
“One of the officers fired their service weapon, striking the subject in the shoulder,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
The two wounded officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital, while the another that was hit by a car was treated at Mount Sinai West. All three are in stable condition.
Meanwhile, the apprehended suspect, a 19-year-old man, is currently being treated at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for a gunshot wound.
Due to the incident, a rookie officer suffered a large laceration and a skull fracture. Mayor Eric Adams revealed his first name to be Paul as he visited the wounded officers at the hospital.
Paul had recently graduated from the police academy and was assigned to a precinct on Staten Island. He was brought into Manhattan specifically to work the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Another officer, an eight-year veteran, was also struck in the head with the weapon and sustained a laceration. There was a third police officer who was hit by a police car while moving barricades to allow responding officers to reach the assailant.
“They moved the barricades really fast,” bypassing witness Kim Novack said. “He was in front of the barricaded area and he moved it for police cars to move fast — and that’s when the barricade fell and he got hit by the car. He got double whammied.”
Workers at a halal stand near the incident also said they heard what sounded like explosions, possibly gunshots. One worker, Prodip Bisws, recalled hearing the bangs and seeing people running in fear.
There were also two other stabbings in the area that night, one involving scissors and another with the victim being stabbed “around eight times.”
The attacks took place in the surrounding area of Times Square, known for its heavy foot traffic and festive atmosphere but also a hotspot for rowdiness.
Mayor Adams praised the police officers for their handling of the situation. “These officers responded in an admirable, professional manner,” he said.
“These officers responded in an admirable, professional manner.”
Eric Adams, New York City Mayor
The concerns about extremism
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the incident, and a motive has not yet been determined.
Although it is not yet clear what the motive for the attack was, authorities are investigating the possibility that the suspect may be recently radicalized Islamic extremist.
This is not the first time that Islamic extremists have targeted police officers. In June 2020, Dzenan Camovic, a Bosnian national living in Brooklyn illegally, attacked two New York Police Department officers in a terrorist-inspired attack.
During the attack, he approached the two officers and stabbed one in the neck before chasing the second officer, repeatedly stabbing him and throwing a knife at him.
Camovic then returned to the first officer, attacked him again, and took his gun, using it to shoot several officers. Camovic was struck multiple times by police gunfire before being taken into custody.
Officers found materials supporting violent Islamist extremism, including ISIS, in his possession. He pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack in March. Camovic was sentenced to 30 years in prison on September 21, 2022, and will be deported after completing his sentence.
However, regarding the recent incident in Times Square on this year’s new year’s eve, the FBI is determined that there is no active threat to the community.
Detectives and fellow cops face grave danger every day, and #NewYearsEve is no different. They’re courageously fighting violence across the city — including the NYPD officers who were assaulted tonight and fortunately recovering. The DEA stands with every dedicated Detective. pic.twitter.com/lhuOz5e645
— Detectives' Endowment Association (@NYCPDDEA) January 1, 2023