Irish NYPD officer in serious condition after meat cleaver attack
An Irish detective suffered serious injuries after he was struck in the head by a Muslim man with an 11-inch meat cleaver in New York.
Off-duty NYPD officer Brian O'Donnell, from Co Offaly, suffered a six-inch gash from his temple to his jaw when he attempted to tackle Akram Joudeh during the 5pm attack on Wednesday.
Joudeh from the borough of Queens in New York City, was shot 18 times after he launched the savage attack.
Joudeh, who has a long criminal history, was initially stopped by police near Penn Station, in the middle of Manhattan, as he tried to remove a wheel clamp from his illegally-parked car.
Jimmy O’Neill, the new NYPD police chief – who only takes over officially on Friday from the retiring Bill Bratton – said that Joudeh then ran through the streets around Macy's department store in the middle of rush hour.
Officers joined in the pursuit, and one uniformed sergeant deployed a stun gun to no effect.
Joudeh pulled out an 11-inch cleaver from his waistband and began running toward Sixth Avenue, officials said.
Akram Judeh Credit: NYPD
Det O'Donnell attempted to intervene but was struck across the face.
The dad, who lives in Long Island, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he's listed in serious condition, officials said.
Mr Bratton and Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, visited him in hospital and said he was in good spirits.
Det O'Donnell moved to the US from Co Offaly 16 years ago and he previously worked with the US navy. He signed up to the New York Police Department and friend say he was four years from retirement.
A bystander, Jonathan Schneier, said when he left work to get coffee he saw a balding man holding a meat cleaver, surrounded by a small group of officers yelling at him to drop the knife. One officer had a Taser out. Others had handguns.
"I give credit to the police officers. They gave him many opportunities," Mr Schneier said.
He said the man with the knife "did not look very stable."
The man turned and ran, Mr Schneier said. He ran one city block and then jumped on top of a NYPD car.
After Det O'Donnell was struck three uniformed NYPD officers then fired a total 18 times at Joudeh, striking him several times.
Two other officers were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries from the encounter, although it was unclear how they were injured.
Joudeh was described as being in a critical but stable condition. He has 15 prior arrests, including one on August 27, after he was found carrying knives near a synagogue.
His last known address was in Queens, though police say he may have been living in his car.
The incident caused gridlock in central Manhattan, with streets shut and the FBI sending agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force to the scene as a precaution.
Detective O'Donnell has two sisters living in Dublin, a sister living in New York and a brother who runs a bar in Las Vegas.
He is a massive GAA and Nw York Yankees fan and his family has strong GAA connections.