In a city with strict gun control laws, we’ve got people hacking off police officer’s faces with a meat cleaver.
An “emotionally disturbed person” attacked an off-duty police officer with a knife with an 11″ blade officers described as a meat cleaver in midtown Manhattan Thursday night near Penn Station. One policeman suffered a head wound and two others were injured before police were able to secure the attacker.
The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Akram Joudeh, was reportedly angry over a parking boot he found on his car which he lives in, and witnesses say he tried to smash it off his vehicle with a hammer for over an hour.
“I saw him trying to break the boot,” said Tusar Paul, 24, who works across the street.
“He was doing it for about an hour. He was using a hammer. Other people were telling him to stop, that’s illegal.”
When officers approached Joudeh around 5 p.m., he pulled the cleaver from his waistband and started swinging, then ran toward Seventh Avenue, law enforcement sources said.
“You have a character running down the street waving a meat cleaver,” Police Chief Bill Bratton said.
Officers surrounded the man and made multiple requests that he drop the weapon, which the suspect refused to do. At that point, an off-duty detective who had joined his colleagues’ pursuit tried to grab the suspect when he was struck by the cleaver. In response, officers opened fire, hitting the suspect multiple times.
“I saw a mob of people running for their lives, screaming coming from the street, and I let in as many people as I could and locked the door and tried to keep as many people safe as possible,” said Leroy Kelly, a 54-year-old security guard at Manhattan Mall.
“I’m a little traumatized. I’m just trying to do my job and make people safe.”
Joudeh has a history of raging at police officers. In 2013, he was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for smashing a car with a wooden fence post.
Former neighbors called him unstable and dangerous, and noted his animosity toward the police.
“He was crazy and weird,” said J.J. Williams, who lived near Joudeh’s home in Elmhurst, Queens. “I always knew something was wrong with him.”
Williams said there were altercations at the home and that the cops had to get involved.
“Neighbors calling the police on him,” he said. “He was like, ‘F- -k the cops.’ He don’t like police.
“One day, they [cops] had to throw him on the floor. It’s not the first time they ever came here and hauled him away.”
The injured officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where the off-duty cop underwent surgery. Joudeh is in the same facility, in critical condition.