Reports of a shooting near Equinox fitness club on East Shore Road resulted in the death of the driver at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 12.
The rumors spread like wildfire, and it was subsequently confirmed that an incident of road rage led to a bat-wielding assailant assaulting a couple of victims and then clashing with police, before he was fatally shot.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder confirmed that the suspect was in his car at a stop sign near Equinox in Great Neck when the drivers of two vans behind him began honking their horns for him to move. Police said that he got out of a Volkwagen with a bat and smashed the windows of the first van behind him. When the driver got out of his vehicle to confront the assailant, he was struck in the head by the bat.
Police said that a Nassau County officer, who recently graduated from the police academy, was on routine patrol and approached the suspect, who allegedly went after the officer with the bat. The policeman used a Taser, a gun that fires electrified darts to stun and immobilize a person, to try to subdue the assailant. The officer then repeatedly told the suspect to drop the bat, authorities said, but the man refused to comply.
A good Samaritan who tried to intervene was also hit with the bat. At that point, the police officer fired two shots, one of which hit the suspect in the chest. The suspect, who was identified as Michael Ward, 44, and had more than a dozen prior arrests in Virginia, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ward had traveled from Maryland to go on rampage across three New York City boroughs and Nassau County that began Saturday night in the South Bronx. Before arriving in Great Neck, he had committed crimes throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan earlier Monday morning.
The driver of the van and the good Samaritan, who were hit with the bat, were hospitalized for their injuries. The officer was taken to the hospital for trauma, but was otherwise uninjured.