NEW YORK (AA) – A man was shot Thursday by New York City police (NYPD) after he attacked and maimed an off-duty officer with an 11-inch meat cleaver, law enforcement officials said.
Akram Joudeh, 32, of Queens, was upset his car was immobilized in Midtown Manhattan with a wheel clamp — a boot — due to unpaid parking tickets, NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill told reporters.
When police approached him at 31st Street and Broadway at around 5 p.m. — near peak of rush hour — he was trying to remove the boot.
Joudeh, who the police believe lives in his car, ran off and officers gave chase, O’Neill said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said an off-duty police officer who was headed toward Penn Station on his way home, joined the pursuit and tried to tackle the suspect but suffered a “significant injury to his face” that caused a six-inch gash.
Officers used a stun gun on Joudeh before the attack but it had no effect on him, O’Neill said.
After the cleaver assault, three officers fired approximately 18 shots at Joudeh, who was in critical condition late Thursday.
The injured officer was in surgery and in serious condition, police said, while two other officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the attack.
Asked whether firing so many shots in the middle of an heavily populated daily commute in Manhattan was justified, Bratton defended his officers’ actions.
“Officers fired sufficient rounds to stop the attack,” Bratton said. “Sufficient shots were fired to deter the attack on my officers.”
According to police records, Joudeh has more than a dozen prior arrests, including one in July for carrying knives near a synagogue in Brooklyn.
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