A cop in a Westchester County town was on duty near a road repair site when he was slashed across his head in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack, a senior law enforcement official said.
The attack occurred Thursday afternoon in the town of Dobbs Ferry, the law enforcement official told NBC New York. In a Facebook post, the village said the incident took place near Keller Lane and Beacon Hill Drive, where the officer was directing traffic as Con Edison crews were upgrading underground gas lines.
The attacker used a knife to slash the sergeant across the head with a knife, according to a senior law enforcement official. The suspect, who has not been identified, fled immediately after the incident but was found hiding nearby in a dumpster after a Con Edison contractor followed him in a vehicle and alerted officers.
"I had a rough day at work today," said Paul Figueiredo, a worker at Danella Construction who witnessed the whole incident.
Another worker, Tim Brennan, said he was inside his vehicle and chatting with the police officer when the suspect approached them.
"All of the sudden, a man came walking down the sidewalk, went up to the officer, stabbed him on the side of the head and yelled profanity and took off running," Figueiredo said. So he took off running after the attacker.
"I yelled 'stop that man, he just stabbed a cop,'" he recalled.
While Figueiredo chased down the suspect, Brennan took care of the officer and administered first-aid using a kit from Con Ed. "He was bleeding pretty profusely and he said, 'if I bleed out, tell my wife and kids that I love them,'" Brennan said.
But Brennan was able to keep the officer alert until paramedics arrived. The officer was taken to Westchester Medical Center, and he has since been released. Meanwhile, Figueiredo kept the suspect on his toes and eventually led police officers to his hiding spot. He said helped take out the suspect as officers took the man into custody.
When asked why he did that, Figueiredo simply said: "Instinct."
"I have two cousins that are cops," he added.
There was no clear motive for the attack, and police were checking to see if the suspect posted anything on social media, the senior law enforcement official said.
The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old Matthew Burke of Dobbs Ferry. He was charged several offenses, including attempted murder of a police officer and possession of a weapon.