NEW YORK — Police in Manhattan shot a man Wednesday who had been suspected of randomly attacking pedestrians with a hammer, police said.
NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said a male officer shot a man after the man swung a hammer at the officer’s female partner. Authorities had been searching for the man who they say had attacked at least four people Monday with a hammer.
Police had planned to ask the public for help locating the man when the two officers spotted him as the suspect near Penn Station on Wednesday, Aubry said.
The two officers. who had been responding to an unrelated assault, began following the man. After about a block, Aubry said the man suddenly attacked the officers with the claw side of the hammer.
“The individual abruptly turned around and pulled out a hammer and violently started swinging at the female officer,” Aubry said.
The male officer fired four gunshots, hitting the man twice, he said.
The officers, including the female who has abrasions on her back and head from either the hammer or falling on the ground, are now being treated at a hospital, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said. The suspect was taken to the hospital in stable condition, the Fire Department said.
Bratton commended the officers saying the shooting officer “quite possibly saved his partner’s life.”
Police closed several blocks near Penn Station, stringing yellow and blue caution tape across intersections. At 37th Street and 8th Ave., where the incident occurred, dozens of officers responded.
A hammer sat in the middle of the street as officials in hazmat suits inspected it and other areas of the scene.
Anthony O’Grady, 26, of Brooklyn, was just across the street when he heard a commotion and saw police shoot at a man in the middle of the street.
O’Grady told USA TODAY he did not see the suspect swing a hammer. However, he did see the man trying to run when a male police officer fired at least three shots in his direction.
The man stopped running after the shots but O’Grady wasn’t sure if the man was hit.
“He came to a halt when they fired at him,” O’Grady said. “I’m not sure if it’s from gunshots.”
Contributing: John Bacon in McLean, Va.