The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the job and working to figure out whether the 20-year-old white suspect who stabbed an NYPD police officer a few minutes before midnight Wednesday night – four hours after the start of an 8 pm curfew — is linked to domestic terrorism.
The suspect’s identity has not yet been revealed and officials were not ready to discuss his social media postings at an overnight news briefing.
FBI agents arrived at the East 22nd Street apartment building where the suspect lives in Brooklyn a few hours after the attack took place.
Members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force also spent time early Thursday at the scene of the attack where two other police officers were shot in addition to the officer who was slashed in the neck.
After the stabbing, several officers arrived at the scene, including one who pulled his gun; the suspect then struggled with the officer for the firearm, which then was triggered, with bullets hitting one officer in the hand and a second officer in the arm.
The police who were working the scene at Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue snapped photos of “ACAB” graffiti. The acronym stands for “All Cops Are Bastards” and may have been related to an anti-police demonstration that took place this past weekend in the same neighborhood, according to a source quoted by the New York Post.
Attack on Police Linked to George Floyd?
The officers were on an anti-looting patrol at the time of the attack, having been assigned to deter and stop break-ins at local stores during the current riots taking place over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in custody of a white Minneapolis police officer.
Anti-looting patrols have been deployed throughout New York City – which has been under a curfew for the past three days — in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
When the stabbing was called in, it took precious time until officers could get to the scene, as the dispatcher was heard over the radio urgently, repeatedly asking, “What’s the location? Where you at?” after hearing the officer yelling “Help!”
One could hear the hard breathing as the violent struggle was obviously taking, and then someone saying an officer was stabbed. A female officer is then heard shouting for a “bus” – a reference to an ambulance – to be sent. The tape, posted by Broadcastify, was published by the New York Post.
An NYPD sergeant who responded to the scene shot the 20-year-old suspect and stopped the attack, according to police.
All three wounded officers were rushed to Kings County Hospital, a Level One Trauma Center in Brooklyn, where they were listed in stable condition. The suspect, also taken to the hospital, was listed in critical condition.
Police Commissioner: ‘Words Matter’
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters at a news briefing at around 2:30 am Thursday morning, “It appears to be a complete, cowardly, despicable, unprovoked attack on a defenseless police officer, and thank God we’re not planning a funeral right now.”
Shea called for the violence against his officers to stop, saying, “Words matter.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Shea at the briefing along with NYPD officials, saying he visited two of the officers and met with the family of the third.
“Thank God the officers came through safely,” de Blasio said. “This is a moment in our history when we’ve got to support each other. No matter what else is happening around us, we have to be there for each other,” the mayor said.