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New York City police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

A man holding a hatchet is seen in a still imReuters

A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group ofNew York City policeofficers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said.

The officers were on foot patrol when they were asked by a freelance photographer to pose for a picture on a Queens street at about 2 p.m., aNew York Police Departmentspokesman said.

Suddenly a man carrying a hatchet charged the officers, swinging it and striking one officer in the right arm and then swinging it again and striking a second officer in the head, the spokesman said.

The remaining two officers fired their weapons at the man, hitting him. The suspect, whose identity was not yet confirmed but who was said to be approximately 32 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.

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A 29-year-old female bystander was struck by a stray bullet. She underwent surgery and was recovering at the hospital, the spokesman said.

Both officers were being treated atJamaica Hospital, with the 25-year-old officer who was hit in the head in a critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery, police said. The other officer, who is 24 years old, was in stable condition, the spokesman said.

"At this point, no known motive for this attack has been established," Police CommissionerWilliam Brattontold a press conference.

Police declined to comment on media reports that the attack was tied to "terrorism" and that an internal memo urged officers to maintain a heightened level of awareness in the wake of recent attacks inCanada.

All four officers involved in the New York City incident graduated on July 8 from the city Police Academy.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Sandra Maler)

 
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