Times Square machete attack being investigated as possible terrorism
A New Year’s Eve machete attack on police officers near Times Square in Manhattan is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Three police officers were injured in the attack by a 19-year-old suspect who was shot in the shoulder and arrested, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference with the mayor. Eric Adams. All officers are expected to survive and return home shortly.
The man approached the first officer just after 10 p.m. Saturday and “attempted to hit him in the head with a machete,” Sewell said. “The man then hit two other officers in the head with the machete.” Sewell said the attack was unprovoked.
The attacks took place outside the security checkpoint set up around Times Square for the traditional New Year’s Ball.
Sewell asked all witnesses to contact the NYPD.
Mike Driscoll, deputy director of the FBI’s New York field office, said at the press conference that agents were “working closely” with the NYPD to “determine the nature of this attack.” Driscoll declined to give further details.
Adams said “there are no credible threats against New Yorkers at this time”, which was reiterated by Sewell and Driscoll. “We believe it was a single individual at the time; there is nothing to suggest otherwise,” Driscoll said.
All three officers were rushed to Bellevue Hospital after the attack and were in stable condition, Adams noted.
An eight-year-old police veteran received a head laceration, and another a large laceration and concussion in the attack, Sewell said. The concussed officer had just graduated from the police academy on Friday, and his first assignment was New Year’s Eve detailing in Times Square, she said.
The suspect, believed to be from Maine, had no arrest history but was known to federal and local law enforcement from previous online postings, law enforcement sources told NBC and ABC News.
Relatives have reportedly contacted law enforcement in recent weeks to raise concerns that he gravitated towards dangerous Islamist ideologies. He may have traveled to New York specifically to target police, sources told the networks.
The NYPD released a picture of a weapon that officials recovered from the scene.
Adams, Sewell and Driscoll all praised the officers who were attacked – and other officers at the scene – for their handling of the violence.
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