Times Square knife attack suspect wanted to kill uniformed officers and ‘carry out jihad,’ prosecutors say


A 19-year-old suspect accused of attacking three uniformed New York City Police Department officers on New Year’s Eve told law enforcement that he planned to travel to the city to “kill people and carry out jihad,” according to prosecutors.

Trevor Bickford was charged by the Manhattan district attorney’s office with attempted first-degree murder and attempted assault after allegedly wielding a machete-like knife and charging at officers several blocks north of Times Square as revelers gathered to watch the ball drop.

The Maine teenager shouted “Allahu Akbar” before striking one officer in the head with a knife known as a kukri, according to a newly unsealed criminal complaint.

“I wanted to kill an officer in uniform,” the complaint claims that Mr Bickford told police. “I saw the officer and waited until he was alone. I said ‘Allauh Akbar.’ I walked up and hit him over the head with a kukri.”

He dropped the knife while charging at another officer and unsuccessfully tried grabbing the officer’s firearm, according to the document. One officer suffered a fractured skull but has been released from hospital, along with the other officers, one of whom received a minor laceration.

“The defendant admitted that he purposefully waited until he saw a moment when the officer was isolated and not near any civilian when he could attack him,” assistant district attorney Lucy Nicholas told the court.

Prosecutors argued that Mr Bickford believed that government officials, including police officers, “cannot be proper Muslims because of US support for Israel.”

A knife allegedly wielded by Trevor Bickford was used to attack three NYPD officers on New Year’s Eve several blocks from Times Square, according to prosecutors, (AP)
A knife allegedly wielded by Trevor Bickford was used to attack three NYPD officers on New Year’s Eve several blocks from Times Square, according to prosecutors, (AP)

Mr Bickford appeared for his arraignment in court via video from his hospital bed as he recovers from a gunshot wound to the shoulder after an officer fired at him during the incident.

He is charged with attempted murder, assault, and attempted assault, and he faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

Mr Bickford, who did not enter a plea, was ordered by a judge to remain in custody without bail as he is considered a “significant” flight risk. Prosecutors argue that he had planned to travel across the US and purchased a train ticket to travel to Miami.

He is represented by an attorney from the Legal Aid Society, which pointed to his lack of criminal history and his employment at a golf course in Maine.

“Trevor Bickford, who is just a teenager, has no prior contact with the criminal legal system,” according to a statement from the organisation, which also criticised his arraignment several days after the incident “after languishing in NYPD custody for nearly four days despite a well-established court requirement that an arraignment take place within 24-hours of arrest.”

“We’ll have more to say about this case after a thorough review and investigation,” the statement added. “For now, we ask the public to refrain from drawing hasty conclusions and to respect the privacy of our client’s family.”

Trevor Bickford, 19, of Maine, is accused of attacking three NYPD police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve near Times Square (Facebook)
Trevor Bickford, 19, of Maine, is accused of attacking three NYPD police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve near Times Square (Facebook)

Law enforcement officials told several news outlets including NBC News and CNN that Mr Bickford was on the FBI’s radar at least several weeks before the attack, and that he was interviewed by the FBI in December after allegedly planning to travel overseas to assist others willing to die for his cause.

His family reportedly grew concerned after he had expressed his willingness to travel to Afghanistan and join the Taliban, prompting them to report him to the police department in their home of Wells, Maine, on 10 December, according to CNN.

Published by anthonyhayble

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