Even though the New York City police commissioner has called the NYPD hatchet attack an act of terror, the alleged perpetrator, Zane Thompson of Queens, New York, has been described by his family as being depressed and a recluse who spent most of his time on his computer.
The hatchet attack, which took place on Thursday, severely injured two of the four rookie police officers who were attacked by Thompson. The 32-year-old man was then shot dead just a few moments after the attack.
As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton said that Thompson was solely responsible for the hatchet attack on the four officers, but his online activities are being closely scrutinized.
“The investigation is hoping to determine as quickly as possible if there were any other actions that he was engaged in with others that might indicate a continuing threat.”
Some reports, including a story by The Inquisitr, have suggested that Thompson could have ties to ISIS, but it appears the NYPD hatchet attack was committed by a mentally disturbed individual with no association with the Middle East terrorist group.
The hatchet attack in New York came a day after another such attack in Ottawa, Ontario, that ended with a Canadian soldier being killed. That hatchet attack was also committed by a lone attacker who was believed to be a “radicalized follower of Islam,” as the NYPD have said of Thompson.
The police have said that Thompson spent a great deal of his time on his bedroom computer researching radical Islam and the violence associated with them, including hatchet attacks, but he had no ties to any local Islamic communities. The former sailor seemed to talk more about revolution than jihad in rantings the police found online.
According to the New York Daily News, a Facebook friend of Thompson’s, Frank Sha Francois, said that the man believed to have committed the hatchet attack was more obsessed with police brutality. Thompson even took part in protests prompted by the death of Eric Garner who died because of a NYPD chokehold.
Although it is believed the hatchet attack was the work of a lone attacker, radical Islamic sites praised the attack on the four policemen. Some believe that the hatchet attack allegedly committed by Thompson was inspired by an essay posted online September 16 about jihad.
Bratton said the issue of lone wolf attackers, like Thompson, is of increasing concern to law enforcement communities around the country. Islamic terrorists often use the Internet, including social media, to spread their message and encourage individuals to commit acts of violence.
[Image by DCPI via New York Daily News]