Suspect of New Year’s Eve machete attack on New York police officers expressed in his diary a desire to join the Taliban and die as a martyr, sources say
The 19-year-old detained by New York police as a suspect in a machete attack on three police officers on New Year’s Eve carried a handwritten diary, which expressed his desire to join the Taliban in Afghanistan and die in martyr, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
Trevor Bickford remains in custody and police custody at Bellevue Hospital, where he is being treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder sustained in the attack, multiple sources said.
The three officers injured last night have all been treated and released, according to the New York Police Department.
On Sunday, federal officials from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office were discussing whether to charge Bickford federally or under US law. State or possibly both in relation to the attack, the sources said.
The suspect has not been charged and it is not known if he has a lawyer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment. CNN has contacted the Manhattan district attorney’s office for comment.
Investigators believe Bickford arrived in New York on Thursday and checked into a hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the sources said.
He drove to Times Square on Saturday evening and, according to police, approached a checkpoint, where officers were checking bags for weapons or suspicious items.
Bickford pulled out a machete, hitting an officer with the blade, then another officer in the head with the hilt before swinging the blade at a third officer, who then shot him in the shoulder, according to the sources and the NYPD.
On Sunday, investigators were seeking search warrants for the suspect’s phone and online activities to determine whether he viewed violent extremist propaganda, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
On Saturday, the NYPD sent out a bulletin to law enforcement partners across the country titled “ISIS-Aligned Media Unit Releases Video Ahead of New Year’s Eve Demanding Offender Attacks isolated,” according to the sources.
The video, posted in online chat rooms “shows, select video clips, suggesting various means of attack, including explosives, handguns, knives and toxins,” according to the bulletin obtained by CNN.
It is not clear if he saw terrorist propaganda.
Law enforcement sources said the attack targeted one of New York’s most high-profile events, and the tactics appear to follow a familiar pattern of previous attacks on New York City by lone offenders.
If this were a terror attack, it would be the first by a suspected terrorist at the event in Times Square, one of the most watched New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world.
Bickford is from Wells, Maine, sources say, a beach town with a population of just over 11,000.