New York Daily News

October 30, 2014


 

NYPD hatchet victim leaves Queens hospital to cheers of fellow officers

 

Officer Kenneth Healey, his head and right arm bandaged, was wheeled out of Jamaica Hospital Wednesday afternoon. He’d been hit in the head with a hatchet wielded by Zale Thompson, who struck another cop in the arm before more officers gunned him down.

BY EDGAR SANDOVAL , BILL HUTCHINSON

Six days after he was savagely attacked by a madman with a hatchet, a rookie cop left a Queens hospital Wednesday to the wild cheers of hundreds of his brothers and sisters in blue.

Officer Kenneth Healey, his head and right arm bandaged, was wheeled out of Jamaica Hospital about 3:30 p.m. as 200 uniformed officers clapped and cheered and members of a police bagpipe band played Irish tunes.

An emotional Healey, 25, wiped tears from his eyes with his injured hand.

In a dramatic move that made the cheers even louder, Healey got out of his wheelchair — which was being pushed by his father, a Nassau County police detective — and walked the last steps to an ambulance.

ANTHONY DELMUNDO /FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
NYPD officer Kenneth Healey, one of Zale Thompson's hatchet victims, wipes tears as he's released from Jamaica Hospital on Wednesday.
ANTHONY DELMUNDO /FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Kenneth Healey's fellow NYPD officers, as well as bystanders, applaud as he leaves the hospital.
ANTHONY DELMUNDO /FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Uniformed officers cheer as NYPD officer Kenneth Healey leaves the hospital.

The cheering continued as the ambulance drove off, taking Healey to a rehab center.

Before climbing into the ambulance, Healey, proudly wearing his badge, flashed a smile of appreciation to his fellow officers.

“After running into the emergency room thinking we were going to lose one of our own, today we are on the outside of the emergency room and that police officer walks into an ambulance,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

 
ANTHONY DELMUNDO /FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS  
NYPD officer Kenneth Healey, one of Zale Thompson's hatchet victims, wipes tears as he's released from Jamaica Hospital on Wednesday.     

“It really is a miracle,” Lynch added.

Lynch said Healey still faces weeks of therapy before he’s back on the beat.

“He has a strong personality, a strong family,” Lynch said. “I truly believe he’ll be fully back on patrol.”

Healey, who graduated from the Police Academy in July, was injured last Thursday in the heart of the business district in Jamaica, Queens, when Zale Thompson, 32, came at him swinging a hatchet.

Thompson, who lived in Queens Village, plunged the silver hatchet into the side of Healey’s head. The crazed man also sliced the right arm of Officer Joseph Meeker, 24.

Two other cops on scene drew their weapons and fired 19 times, killing Thompson.

A 29-year-old woman was accidentally wounded by a stray bullet that hit her in the back. She continues to recover at Jamaica Hospital.

MOTION VIEW PICTURES
Officer Joseph Meeker helps Officer Kenneth Healey, who was struck in the head with a hatchet in Queens on Thursday. Attacker Zale Thompson also hit Meeker's arm.

 
DCPI  
Zale Thompson was shot dead on Jamaica Ave. near 162nd St. in Queens after he attacked police with a hatchet.     

Police officials said Thompson, who once served in the Navy and dropped out of Teacher’s College at Columbia University in 2010, was motivated by a desire to commit an act of terrorism.

Healey had just posed with three other rookie cops for freelance photographer Dominick Williams, 21, when Thompson targeted the officers.

Williams’ portrait captures the cops smiling for the camera just before the chaos erupted.

Surveillance video showed Thompson, dressed in a green parka, charging up the sidewalk toward the cops, holding the 18-inch hatchet with both hands and cocking it back to strike.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thompson was a loner and “self-radicalized” Islamic convert with a grudge against the government and white people.

Shamika Kerr, 26, of Queens, who went to Jamaica Hospital to visit her mother-in-law, said she was “excited” to be on hand to see Healey leave the hospital.

“He’s off to go back to his family,” Kerr said. “He did good.”

MOTION VIEW PICTURES
Officer Kenneth Healey, second from right, on Wednesday left Jamaica Hospital, where he had been recovering from a hatchet strike to the head.



whutchinson@nydailynews.com