Akram Joudeh, a Palestine national who hacked an off-duty police officer across the face had only two months ago been reprimanded by police officers for yelling Arabic outside a synagogue in Brooklyn, NY Daily News is reporting. According to police officers, two knives were found in the car of the 32-year-old man.
The police department released him, deeming him an emotionally disturbed man and not a terrorist threat. NYPD sources confirmed that Akram Joudeh appeared in court the same day of his meat cleaver rampage to appeal a deportation notice and was scheduled for another hearing October 14.
Joudeh, who police describe as a career criminal living out of his car, was selling perfumes and wrongly parked near Madison Square Garden. The front wheel of his Nissan Sentra had been locked with a traffic boot, and he had grown increasingly frustrated at trying to unsuccessfully remove it with a tire iron.
Officers had seen the homeless man kicking and twisting the traffic boot on his front wheel. As the officers approached him, he flew into a rage, waving a meat cleaver he had pulled from his waist band and ran off. A sergeant attempted to stop the running suspect by tasing him, but it did not have any effect.
Off-duty detective Brian O’Donnell had seen Joudeh running from law enforcement officers and attempted to tackle him. Akram Joudeh had hit him in the face with the meat cleaver, opening a 6-inch gash across his face.
The officers had tried speaking to the deranged man, telling him to drop his weapon, he refused. Police fired 18 shots, striking the 32-year-old homeless man at least two times. He was hospitalized Thursday. Authorities say he is in a critical but stable condition. Two other officers suffered injuries, none of them life-threatening.
O’Donnell left a Manhattan hospital Friday to the cheers of family members, fellow police officers and doctors. The 16-year-old veteran was rolled out in a wheelchair; he waved his hands to the crowd and mouthed a big “Thank you.”
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said O’Donnell was a brave man.
“His bravery is amazing. He’s remarkably in good shape today as he goes out the door…His spirit is remarkably high.”
Brian O’Donnell has already gone through surgery, but will require additional surgeries because the wound starts from the left side of his face and snakes down from the temple to the bottom of his jaw. His left hand and wrist were heavily bandaged.
According to the brave detective, he was headed home after his 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. shift when he saw Akram Joudeh weaving his way through the rush hour crowd with officers in pursuit. O’Donnell said he tackled the 32-year-old man when he climbed the front grill of a responding police car that had tried to cut him off.
The father of three children aged 3, 9, and 12 said he did not think twice about stopping the man running with a meat cleaver in his hand.
“I saw what was happening and I had to help my fellow officers and protect the public…I was just doing my job. That is what I am paid to do.”
Joudeh has been arrested for larceny, criminal mischief, criminal possession of stolen property and the unauthorized use of a car. Donna Frazer, a former neighbor, said Akram used to share a house with his uncle in Queens and was notorious for always fighting with his him. The 32-year-old woman said police officers had been called to the building more than once.
“He wasn’t the best tenant. I’m not gonna lie. He did give his family problems. I didn’t know he was living in his car. Anybody could snap, you know, being homeless…maybe he just snapped, he couldn’t take it anymore.”
[Featured Image by Carlballou/Thinkstock]