Login Register

Chester relative of NYPD cop attacked by axe man speaks of shock

John Murray's cousin was saved by his helmet


The relative of a New York City police officer brutally struck in the head with an axe in an alleged terrorist attack has spoken of his shock and said his cousin’s life was saved by his helmet.

Kenneth Healey, 25, had only been serving in the force for three months when he was attacked by 32-year-old Zale Thompson, wielding an 18.5in hatchet.

Mr Healey was left fighting for his life following the horrifying incident, which ended in the shooting of Thompson in Queens on Thursday, October 28.

Footage of Thompson, charging at four officers, has since been broadcast across the globe. He slashed one in the arm and Mr Healey in the head.

Zale Thompson wielding an axe at NYPD officers in Queens, New York


But hours before the national news reported the story, Chester resident John Murray received a Facebook message from a relative in the United States telling him that his second cousin had been attacked while on duty.

“It was a real shock, absolutely shocking,” said Mr Murray, who lives in Queen’s Park and had been due to visit the States to see his extended family and meet Mr Healey for the first time next year.

“I rang up [my cousin] Chrissy straight away, just to find out what happened. They said on Friday that he was in a bad way.

“Luckily his helmet did stop some of it, he said he would have been killed if he hadn’t had that hat.

“He was in the wrong time, wrong place.”

Mr Healey – who had been posing for a photograph as Thompson struck – underwent extensive surgery on Friday and will eventually need a metal plate inserted into his skull.

But Mr Murray said he was now sitting up in bed and had even been visited by the officers who shot dead his attacker.

“He is in a lot of pain, he was quite traumatised, but his colleagues from police college have been in to see him,” said Mr Murray, who said the family had received messages of support from all over the world.

“He has got brain injuries. We do not know what the long-term prognosis is, he is quite young so hopefully he can recover – he has got age on his side.”

Kenny joined the family tradition when he joined up to the NYPD, as his Great Uncle Tommy is a retired cop and was one of the officers on the ground during the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

John and his wife Anne say they are now hoping to move their trip to the USA forwards so that they can visit the family in the next few months.

UPDATE: John Murray commented on our Facebook page about his cousin's progress



David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details