Officials said police shot and injured a man with a machete who attacked three police officers near Times Square on Saturday night, creating a chaotic scene in New York City just hours before the ball fell on New Year’s Eve.
Police said the suspect was shot in the shoulder and taken to hospital. Authorities did not say how severe the suspect’s injuries were and did not identify him beyond saying he was a 19-year-old male.
At a press conference earlier on Sunday, both Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell and Mayor Eric Adams stressed that there is no continuing threat to public safety.
“We are working with our federal partners on this investigation and it is ongoing,” said Commissioner Sewell, and urged witnesses to contact the police with any information they may have. He declined to comment on whether the suspect was previously known to law enforcement or whether he had a history of mental illness.
Authorities said the attack occurred shortly after 10 PM, near the corner of Eighth and 52nd Streets, just outside the security screening area police had set up for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Commissioner Sewell said the man tried to hit a police officer with a machete for no reason and then hit two other officers in the head. He said that an officer had a laceration; Another, who had just graduated from the police academy on Friday, suffered a skull fracture and a large tear.
Commissioner Sewell said one of the officers fired his gun, hitting the suspect in the shoulder.
Commissioner Sewell and Mayor Adams said all three officers have been hospitalized and are in stable condition. Referring to medical privacy laws, hospital officials declined to comment on the condition of any of the patients.
“Happy New Year,” said Mayor Adams. “We have three cops going home.”
The attack and the ensuing gunfire shook the nearby crowd. Video taken from the scene shows people running along Eighth Avenue and 52nd Street in the rain, rushing through slippery sidewalks and streets filled with metal barricades. Officers screamed over sirens, ordering people to move in various directions and get out of the way.
About 30 minutes after the attack, the New York Police Department warned of a heavy police presence in the area and an ongoing investigation.