Eyewitness Piotr Kupis, 27, from Poland, took the photograph on his mobile phone as the man hijacked the traffic corps jeep as it was stopped on St Patrick’s Street on Sunday afternoon.
Piotr was crossing the road behind the jeep with his friend, Hubrt Patoka, when the incident occurred.
Mr Kupis said he saw:
* The man, who was wearing jeans, a hoodie and sunglasses, walk calmly towards the jeep, and open the driver’s door;
* Argue with the garda inside before lashing out and punching him in the face and head;
* The injured garda using his feet to fend off the attacker, before escaping from the jeep;
* The attacker wave a knife wildly at onlookers;
* The injured garda bravely warn onlookers to back off, preventing other people from being attacked;
* The attacker sit into the jeep, stick out his tongue at onlookers, and speed off laughing.
“It was a very frightening experience. People were very lucky more weren’t hurt,” Piotr said.
Gardaí said the attacker pressed a large knife to the garda’s face and neck, and threatened to cut his throat.
His head was pushed back against the headrest and he suffered superficial knife wounds — one to his neck, and one to his face, stretching from an ear to his mouth — before he managed to escape.
The attacker hijacked the jeep, and drove towards the city’s quays, but was blocked by a bus. He reversed into a BMW before speeding off.
Shoppers fled in terror as the man drove through the busy pedestrianised Winthrop Street, and turned left down Oliver Plunkett Street.
He then drove along the South Link Road, through the Kinsale Road roundabout, towards the airport.
He smashed through a perimeter fence before the garda jeep broke down on the airfield.
He threatened two members of airport police with a knife before hijacking their jeep, and stripping down to his underpants.
Stunned passengers watched from the terminal as he drove the airport jeep at airport police, gardaí and at two aircraft — an Aer Lingus plan and a Thomas Cook aircraft — which were parked on the ramp.
He rammed two garda cars, injuring a detective who was sitting in the back seat of one vehicle, before his jeep crashed into the trailer of a baggage truck.
Dozens of gardaí and members of the armed Regional Support Unit (RSU) swarmed on the crashed car as the driver got out.
The RSU had been cleared to shoot the man but they managed to subdue him using a Taser.
He was arrested and taken to Togher garda station, before being taken to Cork University Hospital for psychiatric assessment.
He was discharged back into garda custody in the early hours of yesterday morning.
His period of detention was extended yesterday afternoon and he remained in custody last night.
Gardaí spent yesterday interviewing witnesses, including Mr Kupis, and examining CCTV footage, and photo and video images captured on mobile phones.
Cork Airport has also launched its own internal review.
“An investigation by An Garda Siochána is also under way and, under the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for Cork Airport to comment further,” a airport spokesman said.