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Oct 23, 9:25 PM EDT

Police: Hatchet-wielding suspect shot by officers


NEW YORK (AP) -- A hatchet-wielding man attacked a group of patrol officers in a busy commercial district in Queens on Thursday, injuring two before the other officers shot and killed him, New York City police said. A bystander was wounded in the gunfire.

At a news conference at a hospital where one officer was being treated for a serious head wound, Police Commissioner William Bratton said that investigators were still trying to confirm the identity of the assailant and determine a motive.

Asked if the attack could be related to terrorism, Bratton didn't rule it out. He cited the fatal shooting of a solider in Canada earlier this week - what officials there have called a terror attack - as reason for concern.

"This early on, we really cannot say yes or no to that question," Bratton said.

The attack occurred in the commercial district in Queens at about 2 p.m., while four rookie New York Police Department officers on foot patrol were posing for a photo, police said. Without a word, the man charged the officers and began swinging the hatchet, first hitting one in the arm and another in the back of the head, they said.

After the second officer fell to the ground, the two uninjured officers fired several rounds. The bullets killed the assailant and wounded the bystander, police said.

The officer was in critical but stable condition and was expected to undergo surgery. The woman who was struck by a stray bullet also was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the back.

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