New York machete attacker arrested and charged with attempted murder

The suspect who attacked three New York police officers with a machete just outside a security checkpoint for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square and expressed his militant support for Islam was arrested on Monday and faces two counts of attempted murder, police said.

Trevor Bickford, a 19-year-old resident of Wells, Maine, a town nearly 300 miles from Times Square, also faces two counts of attempted assault for the violent attack, said announced the police.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told NBC News Monday afternoon that it was unclear when he would be arraigned “based on a number of factors.”

Officials said Sunday the attack happened shortly after 10 p.m. at West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue, just outside high-security checkpoints celebrants had to pass through. At this press conference, Bickford was only identified as “a 19-year-old male”; police confirmed his identity on Monday.

The attack began when Bickford approached an officer and attempted to strike him in the head with the machete before striking two officers in the head with the blade, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. He was then shot in the shoulder and apprehended by police, Sewell said.

All three officers were hospitalized, according to Sewell, who said one had a fractured skull and another a bad cut. They were discharged from Bellevue Hospital overnight.

NBC New York reported that Paul Cozzolino, Jr. is the officer who suffered the fractured skull and had just graduated from the police academy the day before the attack.

Three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News on Sunday night that authorities are investigating whether the suspect took one of the officers’ service weapons when they pulled out.

Four law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation said federal agents knew the suspects after questioning him in mid-December after a relative alerted them that he had expressed militant support for Islam. He was also known to investigators through his social media posts, the four officials said, adding that Bickford had no criminal record.

The sources added that Bickford traveled from Wells to lower Manhattan on Thursday primarily via Amtrak. Investigators are also looking into whether Bickford was able to stay at a homeless shelter when he arrived, the four officials said.

A diary found by investigators contained information about who should inherit his property and where he wanted to be buried if he died in the attack, the sources said. He also said he regretted disappointing his mother and hoped his brothers would join him in his fight for Islam, they said, adding that his background also contained propaganda related to Islam. terrorism and personal writings. Bickford also made pro-jihadist statements from his hospital bed overnight, the sources say.

FBI agents were outside Bickford’s home in Wells on Sunday, NBC affiliate WCSH of Portland, Maine reported.

Neighbors told NBC affiliate WJAR of Providence, Rhode Island, they were shocked by the attack.

“I’m like, blown away to think so close to home that someone would love to go all the way to New York and do the crime,” Bethanne Brunelle told the local outlet.

“Wells is a very small community and you think, ‘Did this really happen here? ‘” neighbor Steve Isles said.

Mithil Agarwal, Tom Winter, Jonathan Diest and Myles Miller contributed.


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