A police officer was fighting for his life Tuesday night after an East Harlem man described as mentally ill stabbed him in the head with a 31/2-inch blade, officials said.
Officer Eder Loor, 28, was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at The Mount Sinai Hospital, where doctors were "cautiously optimistic" pending the outcome of emergency surgery, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
"The blade punctured his brain," Kelly said.
Loor and his partner, Officer Lukson Merisme, were responding to a call at 10:30 a.m. from a woman who said her emotionally disturbed son needed to be hospitalized. The officers met the woman, later identified as Vearry Hale, outside her Third Avenue apartment building and found her son, Terrance Hale, 26, in the lobby, police said.
The officers offered to escort Hale to the hospital, but he refused, according to authorities. Without warning, police said, he stabbed Loor in the left temple and ran north on Third Avenue.
Merisme "thought he [Loor] was punched. He didn't see a knife, but a knife was produced at the scene," Kelly said.
Merisme, along with other officers who responded to the bloody scene, nabbed Hale at the corner of East 109th Street. He was arrested with assault charges pending, Kelly said. He was taken to Metropolitan Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, police said. Hale's record includes arrests for robbery and an assault in which a knife was used.
"Today is another reminder that in a split second a police officer's life can be placed in great jeopardy," Kelly said.
"This serious attack," along with Monday's death in a Brooklyn fire of FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi of Farmingville, serve as reminders that "New York's Bravest and New York's Finest risk their lives every day to protect the rest of us," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Loor, who has a young daughter, joined the NYPD in 2006. He and his wife are expecting a son in July.