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Aspiring Terrorist Who Attacked 3 Cops With Machete In Times Square Facing Federal Terrorism Charges

New York, NY – The 19-year-old aspiring terrorist who allegedly attacked three New York City police officers with a machete near the city’s New Year’s Eve ball drop festivities at Times Square is now facing federal terrorism charges.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges against 19-year-old Trevor Thomas Bickford on Jan. 10, NBC News reported.

Bickford has been charged with four counts of attempted murder of officers and employees of the U.S. government and persons assisting them, Garland said in a press release.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Garland said the attack, which left one officer with a fractured skull and a second officer with a severe gash to his head, was charged with the federal terrorism offenses in connection with his self-avowed jihad against officials within the U.S. government, according to the NBC News.

According to court documents, Bickford’s family had alerted authorities about his growing extremist views and behaviors prior to the New Year’s Eve attack.

“As detailed in today’s complaint, we allege that the defendant plotted a jihad-inspired attack targeting U.S. government officials, and on December 31st, 2022, attacked three NYPD officers who were part of the joint federal-state law enforcement operation protecting the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration,” Garland said.

“We are deeply grateful for the bravery of the officers who were injured in this horrible attack and who put their lives on the line every day to serve their communities,” he added. “Together with our law enforcement partners at every level of government, the Justice Department will continue to work to disrupt, investigate, and prosecute those who target and attack law enforcement and endanger the American people.”

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said Bickford traveled to New York City with the intent of murdering police.

“On this past New Year’s Eve, revelers flocked to Times Square to ring in the New Year with friends and family,” Williams said in the press release. “But Trevor Bickford allegedly targeted the iconic yearly celebration to carry out a brazen act of violence and hatred in the name of jihad.”

“Bickford’s alleged attack in one of the most visited destinations in the world on its busiest night of the year ironically only served to spotlight the coordination, resolve and dedication of American law enforcement to guard the wellbeing of the public,” he added. “We sincerely thank our law enforcement partners for their outstanding work and bravery, and especially wish a full and speedy recovery to the officers injured in this senseless attack.”

Investigators said Bickford, who hails from Wells, Maine, began immersing himself in the study of radical Islamic ideology during the summer of 2022, NBC News reported.

By that November, he had committed himself to waging jihad against governments he deemed to be anti-Muslim, to include the U.S., according to prosecutors.

Court documents revealed Bickford confided in a family member about his desire to go to Afghanistan or Jordan to martyr himself as a suicide bomber, NBC News reported.

Investigators said that in mid-December, Bickford reached out via text to his older brother – a U.S. military soldier – and told him he wanted to join the Taliban over in Afghanistan.

He was scheduled to fly to Jordan on Dec. 12, 2022, and had even purchased a ticket, but he never got on the plane, according to court documents.

Bickford sat down with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) one day after his missed flight and participated in a voluntary interview, NBC News reported.

He allegedly told them he had recently purchased tickets to New Delhi, India, and that he planned to travel to Afghanistan from there so he could “ally” with the Taliban, according to court documents.

Bickford allegedly told the FBI agents he does not support the Taliban’s use of violence against civilians and that he would not be joining al-Qaida, NBC News reported.

According to the criminal complaint, Bickford altered his plan to go to Afghanistan and instead opted to wage jihad against the U.S. on U.S. soil.

Investigators said he traveled from Maine to New York City with the intent of carrying out the New Year’s Eve attack, NBC News reported.

Bickford allegedly confessed during an interview that he had “carried out the attack for the purpose of waging jihad and that [his] mission involved targeting military-aged men who worked for the U.S. Government and killing as many such officials as he could,” court documents read.

He also allegedly told investigators he wandered around Times Square and prayed a lot as he tried “to figure out the right time to kill,” NBC News reported.

In the end, Bickford said his effort was a complete failure.

“Bickford intended to die in the attack, in an effort to achieve martyrdom,” investigators said in the criminal complaint, according to NBC News. “Bickford believed his attack was unsuccessful, because he did not kill any officers, and he did not die himself.”

In addition to the federal terrorism charges pending against him, the suspect has also been charged in state court with 18 offenses, including three counts of attempted first-degree murder, the New York Post reported.

He faces a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted in state court, according to NBC News.

The attacks occurred on 8th Avenue between 51st Street and 52nd Street shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2022, WPIX reported.

The location is approximately eight blocks away from the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop event, and just outside of the secured zone where partygoers were being scanned for weapons, according to the Associated Press.

Bickford allegedly pulled out a machete with a one-foot blade, yelled “Allahu Akbar,” and attacked the three New York City police officers, fracturing one officer’s skull and leaving a second officer with a substantial head wound before an officer ended the assault by shooting Bickford in his shoulder, according to prosecutors.

He allegedly attempted to steal one officer’s firearm, but was unsuccessful, according to prosecutors.

The officer who suffered a fractured skull had recently joined the New York Police Department (NYPD) and was on his first shift, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell told CBS News.

He just graduated from the police academy one day earlier, WPIX reported.

The second injured officer is an eight-year veteran of the department.

A third officer was also injured in the attack, and all three were rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment.

They have all since been released to continue their recoveries at home, the New York Post reported.

Bickford survived his gunshot wound.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he spoke with one of the wounded officers at that hospital on New Year’s Day and that he was in “good spirits,” the Associated Press reported.

“He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today,” Adams said.

“We’re really pleased by the response and how our officers handled this situation,” the mayor added, according to CBS News. “All three of the officers are in stable conditions and there are no credible threats to New Yorkers at this time.”

FBI New York Field Office Assistant Director Michael Driscoll said the three heroic officers who were injured in the brutal attack were simply trying to keep citizens safe during the festivities.

“Bickford deliberately planned and executed his violent attack against New York City Police Officers who were simply doing their job protecting the public,” Assistant Driscoll said in a press release. “Only the quick action of these brave officers prevented further harm.”

Commissioner Sewell said she was thankful the three officers all survived the brutal ambush.

“An attack against New York City police officers is an attack against all of us – and today’s charges make it clear that such violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said after the federal charges against Bickford were announced. “Our NYPD family is thankful our heroic officers survived this premeditated ambush, and the entire city commends them for preventing further bloodshed during one of our nation’s largest public events.”

“Clearly, the threat of jihadist terrorism remains very real, and our country’s security begins with the dedicated local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who are committed to keeping us safe,” Commissioner Sewell noted. “I applaud our NYPD investigators, our partners on the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their combined efforts on this important case.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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