Occasions Sq. machete suspect needed ‘jihad’ on police, district lawyer saysYesterday
A person accused of attacking police with a machete close to New York’s Occasions Sq. on New Yr’s Eve was intent on committing a jihad towards authorities officers and shouted “Allahu akbar” earlier than putting one officer within the head and trying to seize one other officer’s gun, prosecutors stated Wednesday.
Trevor Bickford, who was shot by police in the course of the confrontation, was arraigned by video from a Manhattan hospital and ordered to be held with out bail. He didn’t enter a plea and has one other court docket look scheduled for Friday.
Bickford, 19, of Wells, Maine, is charged with trying to homicide cops, assault and tried assault. If convicted, he faces a compulsory life sentence. The assault, on the fringe of the high-security zone the place throngs of revelers gathered, left three officers injured.
Assistant Manhattan District Legal professional Lucy Nicholas stated Bickford “particularly traveled to New York from Maine with a purpose to start finishing up his crimes of homicide of presidency officers,” arriving within the metropolis just a few days earlier than the assault.
Bickford had an Amtrak ticket to Miami and needed to journey overseas, “however then determined to come back to New York first with a purpose to kill folks and perform jihad,” Nicholas stated. He had no identified ties to town or state, she stated.
Nicholas stated Bickford informed investigators that “all authorities officers” had been a goal for him due to the U.S.’s assist of Israel, together with cops, however that he purposely spared civilians from hurt. Authorities have been investigating whether or not Bickford was motivated by Islamic extremism.
The Authorized Assist Society, a public defender group representing Bickford, urged the general public “to chorus from drawing hasty conclusions and to respect the privateness of our consumer’s household.”
The machete assault occurred about two hours earlier than midnight on Saturday, simply outdoors the world the place individuals are screened for weapons earlier than gaining entry to one of many world’s greatest and most well-known New Yr’s celebrations.
Three officers had been struck with the machete earlier than an officer shot the suspect, authorities stated. One officer suffered a fractured cranium and one other had a nasty reduce. All had been anticipated to get well. Investigators imagine the attacker acted alone.
Bickford’s mom contacted the Wells, Maine, Police Division on Dec. 10 to precise considerations about her son, and the division notified the FBI, Wells Police Capt. Jerry Congdon stated Tuesday. He couldn’t talk about the interplay additional, however stated Bickford was not a priority to native police.
The Occasions Sq. assault “was as a lot of a shock to us because it was anybody else,” Congdon stated. “He was actually flying below the radar.”
FBI brokers had been seen Sunday getting into Bickford’s household dwelling in Wells, a well-liked seaside vacation spot near the New Hampshire border. Bickford competed in sports activities in highschool, was a part of Maine’s state champion wrestling group in 2020 and made the honour roll for his research at the very least one 12 months.
Bickford’s on-line postings included some mentions of Islamic extremist views, in response to a regulation enforcement official aware of the matter. The official couldn’t publicly talk about particulars concerning the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on situation of anonymity.
In Bickford’s legal grievance, a detective with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Process Pressure stated he informed her: “I needed to kill an officer in uniform.”
In response to the detective, Bickford stated he waited till he noticed an officer alone, stated “Allahu akbar,” walked as much as him and hit him over the top with the machete, which he stated was a kukri – a machete-like blade with South Asian origins. In Arabic, “Allahu akbar” means “God is nice.”
In response to the detective, Bickford stated he then charged one other officer, dropped the knife and tried to seize that officer’s gun. Nicholas stated Bickford informed investigators he needed to kill the officers with the gun, however couldn’t get it out of the holster.