A madman with a meat cleaver, upset over his car getting booted, was shot by cops in Midtown Thursday after he sliced an off-duty NYPD detective in the head during a chaotic confrontation.
The gunfire erupted about 5 p.m. on 32nd St., a block from Penn Station, after the man went into a blind rage when his illegally parked car was slapped with a wheel lock.
The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Akram Joudeh of Queens, chased a traffic agent up Sixth Ave. with a large butcher knife before the bloody dust-up with cops.
“He ran down the sidewalk past me and I moved to the other side of the truck,” said a stunned Richard Dewald, 56, a registered nurse. “I was standing next to where the cops were standing with their guns.
“It seemed like there was a confrontation there. I heard 10 to 15 shots,” he added.
Cops were called to the area just before 5 p.m. when several people saw a man with a scruffy beard and wearing sandals running with a meat cleaver in his hand, according to witnesses and initial reports.
“He was running down the street, waving it,” said an MTA worker who asked not to be named. “The cops were chasing him.”
A phalanx of officers, including the off-duty detective, finally surrounded Joudeh on 32nd St. between Broadway and Sixth Ave. and told him to drop the weapon, but he refused.
“Drop it! Drop it!” the cops screamed repeatedly, according to witnesses. Cops used a Taser on the man, but it had no effect, according to a high-ranking police source.
When the detective tried to knock the blade from his hand, he struck the cop in the head with it, leaving him with a deep gash.
Then all hell broke loose, a witness said.
“They shot him up,” the witness said. “He was hit five or six times. He was laid up on the sidewalk. It looked like he was dead.”
The sidewalks were choked at rush hour with confused commuters and tourists who ducked behind parked cars and ran toward Sixth Ave. as the sound of the shots echoed off the Midtown office buildings.
“There were a bunch of people running with cellphones,” Dewald said. “The block was very crowded with people getting off work.”
Others on the block said the usual chaos of Midtown drowned out the pandemonium.
“Honestly we didn’t think anything of it at first,” said Christopher Okada, 36, president of Okada & Co. real estate. “There were eight or nine shots in a row. Someone in the office was like ‘that was gunshots.’
“Next thing you know it was ambulance after ambulance and police car after police car. The whole area is on lockdown,” he added.
A second cop was also injured, suffering a graze wound to the back during the fracas, officials said.
The cops and Joudeh were rushed to Bellevue Hospital for treatment. The off-duty detective was in surgery and his condition was unclear, a high-ranking police source said.
Joudeh’s condition was not immediately known.
Police were still investigating the incident Thursday evening.
Joudeh had a lengthy criminal history that included larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
“Officers in midtown Manhattan encountered a man with meat cleaver. Officers discharged several rounds striking the suspect,” NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald tweeted.
The incident was eerily similar to an attack two years ago that left a rookie cop fighting for his life after a hatchet-wielding man ambushed a group of NYPD officers in Jamaica, Queens. The suspect, Zale Thompson, slammed the 18-inch ax blade into the cop. Two other officers shot and killed Thompson, who was later described as a self-radicalized lone wolf attacker.
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