I don’t know NYPD detective Brian O’Donnell, but I do have a great reason to thank him for his bravery. O’Donnell, an Irish native from Offaly, who lives in East Northport, Long Island, put his life on the line to protect others on a busy Manhattan street on Thursday.
The 16-year-veteran was badly injured trying to subdue a crazed man who carried an eleven inch meat cleaver.
In all the negativity about cops recently we forget they do the most dangerous job in the world and can be called on at any moment to take their life in their hands. They never know going out on patrol what awaits them that day.
Detective Brian O’Donnell was not even on duty but choose to help anyway.The off-duty detective selflessly ran to aid his fellow men in blue, tackled the meat cleaver-wielding lunatic and was almost killed when the suspect slashed a 12-inch scar down the side of his face.
He was rushed to hospital in serious condition but made a dramatic recovery and was discharged from hospital. He was greeted with a guard of honor of fellow police officers when he was wheeled out of the hospital.
Thursday was one of those days when disaster could easily have struck for the Irish cop. It was on the next block over from my office that the man named as Akram Joudah, a Palestinian native with fifteen convictions, went berserk and raced down the street with a meat cleaver after he had threatened police with it because they had clamped his car.
He was parked illegally on a very busy thoroughfare. Joudah was attempting to sell perfume from the back of the car.
The incident happened close to Penn Station in the evening rush hour. Eventually he was surrounded by cops next door to my office.
O’Donnell was an off duty detective who didn't even need to take part in the chase. Bravely, he lunged for the cleaver when Joudah tried to escape, but Joudah slashed him with a six-inch cut from his cheek to his temple. Somehow it missed his eye and his neck which could have been fatal.
Cops tried to stop Joudah with a stun gun but he was so enraged it had no impact. Finally, after he injured another cop they wounded him with several shots.
Several of our staff were on their way home via Penn Station and were very lucky to have avoided being hit. Civilians everywhere were running in panic. In this 9/11 age the sound of gunfire is enough to spook even the calmest folks.
Police say Joudah’s last known residence was in Queens, but they believe he had been living out of his car.
Addressing the media, NYPD Chief James O'Neill said, "The detective was struck in the head by the cleaver causing an approximate six-inch gash, from his temple about down to his jaw. Uniformed officers then fired at the suspect, striking him several times,"
When questioned about the need to fire 18 shots at the suspect in order to subdue him, New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton said after viewing the video and speaking with the police officers he "commends them for their performance."
"I know you raised the question of 18 shots. We have a character running down the street waving a cleaver.
"Despite that, the officers approached him, sought to take him into custody, at which time one of them received a very significant injury to his face at which time, based on the preliminary investigation, the officers fired sufficient rounds to stop the attacks."
Detective O'Donnell was treated for his injuries at Bellevue Hospital Center.
He was discharged from the hospital Friday evening and received a guard of honour from his colleagues in NYPD's 19th Precinct.
New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, said enough and legitimate force was used."The officers fired sufficient rounds to stop the attack,” said Bratton.