The teenage suspect in New 12 months’s Eve machete assault on three NYPD officers close to Occasions Sq. is a “homegrown violent extremist,” in response to senior officers, and has been charged with tried homicide.
Trevor Bickford, a 19-year-old from Wells, Maine, faces two counts of tried homicide of a police officer and two counts of tried assault for the scary Saturday evening incident, the NYPD introduced Monday. The costs come after he allegedly swung a big knife on the three totally different officers he had approached on Eighth Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets simply after 10 p.m., throughout an evening when the streets of midtown are at all times full of vacationers and revelers.
Legislation enforcement sources stated that Bickford had been interviewed by federal investigators over pro-jihadi declarations previous to his alleged machete ambush. The teenager was in a federal regulation enforcement database after a relative alerted regulation enforcement concerning the radical pro-jihadist views beforehand expressed, a number of police officers stated. Federal officers interviewed Bickford in December shortly after being alerted, sources added.
As neighbors describe the officer damage within the assault as a caring younger man, there are additionally questions on whether or not the suspect within the New 12 months’s Eve machete melee could have tried to succeed in for an officer’s gun. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reviews.
Senior officers briefed on the assault known as Bickford a “homegrown violent extremist motivated in part by Salafi-extremism.” After he was arrested, Bickford stated he was self-radicalized and that he had transformed his beliefs about three or 4 months in the past, officers stated.
Bickford solely not too long ago thought of New York as a goal, and determined to go ahead with the assault as soon as he bought to NYC after taking an Amtrak prepare from Boston on Dec. 29, in response to regulation enforcement officers. He stayed at a resort on the Bowery, senior police officers instructed NBC New York. He could have hung out forward of the assault in Forest Park, Queens, the place investigators discovered extra of his belongings Monday morning.
In accordance with senior officers, Bickford beforehand expressed want to go to Afghanistan to struggle, and one official stated the teenager had initially seemed into finishing up “jihad” towards Burma or China for his or her governments’ therapy of Muslims. He additionally had a doc that learn “Stop Genocide Save Rohingya Now Burma Task Force.”
Three regulation enforcement officers stated that Bickford booked two separate journeys to the Center East in current weeks, however didn’t present for them. On Nov. 7, he had a multiple-stop journey that may have finally introduced him to Saudi Arabia.
Then on Dec. 11, sources stated Bickford had booked a flight from Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport to Frankfurt, Germany, after which to Amman, the capital metropolis of Jordan. It was across the time of that second reserving when a relative known as regulation enforcement, sources stated, and it was after being interviewed by regulation enforcement that Bickford opted to go to NYC as an alternative.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell stated the suspect dealt two of the officers blows to the top, giving an 8-year veteran a head laceration and a current police academy graduate a cranium fracture. All three NYPD members had been launched from the hospital the next morning.
Mayor Eric Adams stated that he had spoken to one of many wounded officers. “He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today,” the mayor stated on the press convention.
One of many officer attacked was Paul Cozzolino Jr, who simply graduated from the police academy on Friday. Longtime neighbors in Ossining, New York, described Cozzolino as a pleasant and caring man.
“He’s a giving person, you see, and I feel like it’s more his nature to give back,” stated neighbor Parag Kulkarni. One other neighbor stated “we need good cops like Paul. He’s a good kid.”
Bickford was additionally taken to a Manhattan hospital after being shot within the shoulder by one of many officers concerned within the incident, Sewell stated. He allegedly made a pro-jihadi assertion from his hospital mattress. Officers stated he had private writings in his backpack that additionally included terrorist-related propaganda in addition to a pocketknife and roughly $200 in money.
The suspect, who was nonetheless hospitalized Monday night, wrote in a diary whom he needed to depart belongings to and the place he needed to be buried, officers stated, suggesting he might need anticipated to die in the course of the assault. He additionally allegedly wrote about his household, together with regrets for disappointing his mother and hopes his brother would be a part of his radical ideology.
In his writings, he referred to nonbelievers as “Kuffar” and indicated he needed to die for his faith, senior officers stated. The teenager instructed himself that girl and kids had been off-limits for the assault, however thought the nonbelievers had been truthful recreation, in response to two regulation enforcement sources. Bickford additionally criticized a brother for becoming a member of the U.S. Military, saying he had “joined the ranks of my enemy.”
“We believe this was a sole individual at this time, there’s nothing to suggest otherwise,” stated Mike Driscoll, assistant director accountable for the New York FBI Subject Workplace. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Job Power can be investigating.
Investigators deliberate to seek for extra proof at Bickford’s residence in Maine. Neighbors who knew the suspect and his household instructed NBC Boston stated they had been stunned by what the teenager had executed, and felt for the dad and mom.
This incident follows different lone-wolf terror-type assaults on NYPD officers. In 2014, a radicalized man attacked three officers with a hatchet with out warning in Queens. And two years in the past, a person stabbed a Brooklyn officer within the neck earlier than stealing his gun and utilizing it to fireside at responding officers in one other jihadist-inspired lone-wolf assault.
Since 9/11, there have been not less than 10 terror-type assaults focusing on uniformed officers with knives.
Adams counseled the work of the officers and the police division’s safety planning that went into securing the realm round Occasions Sq., planning he stated saved lives.
“It is why the commissioner and her team ensures that we properly screen everyone entering the area where the viewing is actually taking place,” Adams stated.
The violent assault and gunfire sparked temporary chaos amid revelers lined up alongside eighth Avenue, as unique video confirmed panicked witnesses working from the scene. The New 12 months’s Eve celebrations in Occasions Sq. weren’t impacted.
The oner of Fiorentina Restaurant, Mike Sicilliano, stated that crowds rushed inside his eatery searching for security.
“All of a sudden we hear a lot of noise, people are frantic trying to get out of the store, trying to get into the store. And after that, a couple more seconds, we heard a gun shot,” he stated. “People were crying, people were screaming. And they didn’t know what to do…It was a lot of kids in the area and especially the store, and so everybody was trying to protect whatever they can. I tried to calm the people down.”
Police working New 12 months’s Eve element in Occasions Sq. had been wounded by a machete-wielding man who struck a number of officers within the head in what regulation enforcement are investigating as a potential focused assault. NBC New York’s Myles Miller reviews.