Police officer kills man in Great Neck after bat attack

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Police investigate an apparent road rage attack that left a suspect dead and two civilians injured. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Police investigate an apparent road rage attack that left a suspect dead and two civilians injured. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

A Nassau County police officer shot and killed a man in Great Neck on Monday after the suspect attacked two men with a baseball bat in a road rage incident near the Equinox gym and then refused to drop the weapon when confronted by the officer, the police said.

Reports identified the man as Michael Ward, who has also been listed as a suspect in a New Jersey carjacking and a crime spree in New York City.

According to an NYPD spokesman, the man’s spree allegedly began in Bordentown, New Jersey, where he allegedly robbed an individual of a vehicle. He later allegedly robbed a 77-year-old man and fled in that man’s car, before striking and killing a 50-year-old man in Brooklyn two days later.

The spokesman said Ward then allegedly stole a newspaper deliverywoman’s Honda Odyssey before repeatedly punching a man, stealing his Honda Acura, evading police and ending up in Nassau County driving a Volkswagen.

“He was all over the place,” the spokesman said.

Police sources said the suspect’s vehicle was stopped at a stop sign at Bayview Avenue and Maple Street. After being honked at, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, the suspect allegedly exited his vehicle with a baseball bat, struck the windows of two cars behind him, and hit one of the drivers in the head when he tried to confront him.

“The subject’s vehicle was stopped at the stop sign here behind us,” Ryder said, gesturing. “Two vans were pulled up behind him. He was not moving, they beeped their horn, and then the subject got out and started his attack on those individuals.”

The rookie officer on patrol engaged the individual and showed “great restraint,” Ryder said, repeatedly telling the suspect to drop the bat as he approached. The officer fired his Taser at the suspect, Ryder said, but it only “fazed him a little bit” and the suspect continued his approach.

At that point a civilian got involved to try and help the officer, but was struck in the head, Ryder said.

“The last instruction was to put the bat down and the officer had no other option but to fire and then stop that subject at that location,” Ryder said.

The unidentified officer fired twice, with one shot hitting the suspect in the upper torso, police said. The suspect died at a hospital about an hour after the incident.

The two men injured in the attack were taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and the officer was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for treatment of trauma.

The incident is still under investigation.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and being updated as more information becomes available.

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