The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city’s borough of Queens.
Surveillance video released by police shows the man -- later identified as Zale Thompson, 32 -- wearing a heavy green jacket, raising the 18 ½ inch hatchet, prepared to strike as he walked down the sidewalk. The man was unprovoked and did not speak before swinging his hatchet, police said.
Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack, police said. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.
Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.
Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven’t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.
“The initial impression is that he’s just an angry guy who’s ranting about the American government and American oppression of foreign people,” the source said.
Police executed several search warrants and found other axes and hunting knives, the source said.