By Patrick Donachie
A police officer who was attacked by a hatchet-wielding man in Jamaica in October 2014 was awarded the Medal of Honor Tuesday morning, along with several other officers who killed the assailant.
Officer Kenneth Healey was patrolling in downtown Jamaica with officers Taylor Kraft, Joseph Meeker and Peter Rivera, when he was attacked by Zale Thompson, from Queens Village, who charged at them with an 18-inch hand ax near the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street.
Thompson struck Healey in the skull and injured Meeker on his arm before the other two officers fatally shot him, according to the NYPD.
After the attack, Healey had to undergo two reconstruction surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.
Meeker, Kraft and Rivera were awarded the Combat Cross for their service in the line of duty during the medal ceremony, which was held at NYPD Headquarters at One Police Plaza. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton attended and spoke at the ceremony.
Healey and the other officers had become police officers only a few months before the ax attack, having graduated from the Police Academy in July 2014. They were assigned to the 103rd Precinct, which covers parts of Jamaica, Hollis and Lakewood. Healey, who hails from Long Island and comes from a long line of police officers in his family, returned to duty with the NYPD’s Technical Assistance and Response Unit in December. The four officers had previously been honored at the annual Top Cops Awards in Washington, D.C. during a ceremony with Vice President Joseph Biden in May 2015.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona