In case you missed the story, which broke late yesterday afternoon, a man in midtown Manhattan attacked an off-duty NYPD police officer with a meat cleaver, gashing his face before being shot by fellow officers.
Today, new details have emerged about the cleaver wielder. He has been identified as 32-year-old Akram Joudeh, a Muslim with 15 prior arrests, “including one on Aug. 27 after he was found carrying knives near a synagogue.”
Yesterday’s attack, it turns out, had nothing to do with Joudeh’s religious beliefs or his dislike for police, which former neighbors of his maintain is strong. Exhibit A: One of his priors in 2013 was for “criminal mischief” for “smashing a car with a wooden fence post,”which he admitted he thought “was a detective’s car.”
Rather, yesterday’s incident, as Steven Bognar of WNBC explains in a tweet, was an act of “self-preservation.”
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) September 15, 2016
So he did what any self-respecting law-abiding citizen would do. He pulled an 11-inch cleaver out of his waistband and began running toward Sixth Avenue, packed with people returning to their homes after a day of work. Officers chased after him, and one was paid back with a 5-inch gash.
Police were left with no alternative but to take the suspect down, which they did with their service weapons. Joudah was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where his condition is listed as critical.