An NYPD cop who was seriously injured after a man attacked him and his fellow officers with an 18-inch hatchet on a Queens street two years ago has been honored with the department’s highest award.
Police Officer Kenneth Healey was on patrol on Oct. 23, 2014 with three other officers on Jamaica Avenue in Queens when a man ran towards them with a metal hatchet.
The attacker — later identified as 32-year-old Zale Thompson — struck Healey in the back of the head and also hit another officer in the arm with the weapon.
Police shot and killed Thompson who had ranted against the United States, according to CBS2 New York. A bystander was struck by a bullet when cops shot at the suspect.
In the days following the attack, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called it an act of terror and Thompson, who had converted to Islam, had been allegedly visiting websites affiliated with terrorist organizations, CBS2 reported.
On Tuesday morning, Healey — who suffered a shattered skull and required undergoing numerous surgeries after the attack — was given the Medal of Honor during the NYPD 2016 Medal Ceremony.
Police Officer Joseph Meeker, who was struck in the arm during the attack, received the Medal of Valor, and the other two officers involved in the incident – Taylor Kraft and Peter Rivera – were given the police Combat Cross.
"A lot of people who receive this award are no longer with us, so it's definitely an honor to receive such a high award from the department," Healey told NBC 4 New York. “If I could go back in time, I wish nothing like this would [have] ever happened. But I’m still here and it’s definitely an honor.”
Healey has since returned to work on desk duty and said he is still slowly progressing and improving from the injury he sustained that day, according to NBC 4.