Maine

Maine Teen Charged with Attempted Murder After Machete Attack on New Year's Eve

Senior officials say 19-year-old Trevor Bickford, of Wells, Maine, is a "homegrown violent extremist."

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A teenager accused of attacking police officers with a machete near New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve has been charged with attempted murder, police said Monday as authorities continue to investigate his motivation for the attack.

According to senior officials, Trevor Bickford, a 19-year-old from Wells, Maine, is a "homegrown violent extremist." He also faces attempted assault charges from the attack that injured two officers at the edge of the high-security zone where throngs of new year’s revelers were gathered, the New York Police Department said in a release.

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Law enforcement sources told NBC New York that Bickford had been interviewed by federal investigators over pro-jihadi declarations prior to his alleged machete ambush. The teen was in a federal law enforcement database after a relative alerted law enforcement about the radical pro-jihadist views previously expressed, multiple police officials said. Federal officials interviewed Bickford in December shortly after being alerted, sources added.

Bickford was hospitalized, awaiting arraignment, after police shot him in the shoulder during the confrontation Saturday night. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could speak to the allegations; the Associated Press left messages for his relatives.

The violence happened about two hours before midnight on Saturday, just outside the area where revelers are screened for weapons before gaining entry to one of the world’s biggest and most famous New Year’s celebrations.

Two of the officers were struck with the machete before the suspect was shot, authorities said. The two officers were hospitalized, one with a fractured skull and the other with a bad cut, and were expected to recover. So was the suspect.

NBC New York reported that Mayor Eric Adams said that he had spoken to one of the wounded officers. “He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today,” Adams said at the press conference.

A law enforcement official familiar with the matter told The AP on Sunday that investigators believe Bickford traveled to New York City earlier in the week. They are examining whether he made the trip specifically to attack police at the Times Square festivities, the official said.

New York City police and federal officials are still trying to discern a motive, and investigators are reviewing Bickford’s online postings, which included some mentions of Islamic extremist views, the official said. The official could not publicly discuss details about the ongoing investigation and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity.

Officials said the man had personal writings in his backpack that also included terrorist-related propaganda as well as a pocketknife and approximately $200 in cash.

The suspect wrote in a diary whom he wanted to leave belongs to and where he wanted to be buried, officials said. He also allegedly wrote about his family, including regrets for disappointing his mom and hopes his brother would join his radical ideology.

"We believe this was a sole individual at this time, there's nothing to suggest otherwise," said Mike Driscoll, assistant director in charge of the New York FBI Field Office. The FBI's Joint Terrorism task Force is also investigating.

Officials said the man had personal writings in his backpack that also included terrorist-related propaganda as well as a pocketknife and approximately $200 in cash.

The suspect wrote in a diary whom he wanted to leave belongs to and where he wanted to be buried, officials said. He also allegedly wrote about his family, including regrets for disappointing his mom and hopes his brother would join his radical ideology.

The violent attack briefly sent some people running, but the festivities in Times Square continued.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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