Cops, FBI search for motive after teenager arrested for Times Square attack

Trevor Bickford was identified as the suspect in the machete attack that took place near Times Square on New Year’s Eve (Pictures: Getty/SWNS/Facebook/WMTV)

Authorities are searching for answers after a teenager attacked three police officers with a machete near Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The suspect was identified as Trevor Bickford, a 19-year-old from Wells, Maine. New York Police Department (NYPD) sources said that Bickford may have been influenced by radical Islamic extremism.

Investigators believe Bickford traveled from his home to New York City by train. It is unclear if he was always planning to carry out the attack.

Other police sources told the New York Daily News that Bickford was carrying a journal when he was arrested, which contained an apologetic note to his family and urged them to ‘repent to Allah and accept Islam.’

Bickford has no prior arrests or history with law enforcement. However, ABC News reported that his mother and aunt had recently notified the police about him, concerned that he was becoming radicalized by violent Islamist ideology.

On Sunday, just hours after the attack in Times Square, FBI agents raided his family’s home in Maine.

‘The FBI and the Joint-Terrorism Task Force are working very closely with [the NYPD] to determine the nature of this attack,’ FBI agent-in-charge Mike Driscoll said. ‘We will run every lead to ground.’

Driscoll said the investigation was ongoing and he could not comment on possible charges for the attacker, but said that he believed the attacker acted alone.

We’re learning a bit more about the 19-year-old suspect Trevor Bickford. He attended Wells High School. He was part of a state champion wrestling team in 2020 and was also recognized the same year as part of a scholastic art competition @WMTWTV Photos: Wells Ogunquit CSD

— Terry Stackhouse (@TStackhouseWMTW) January 1, 2023

‘We believe this is a sole individual at this time, there is nothing to indicate otherwise,’ he said.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said that the suspect has not yet been arraigned, and they could not comment on what possible charges he might face.

The attack took place on West 57th Street and 8th Ave, around 10.11pm on Saturday night, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. The corner was located outside of the security screening zone marked off for Times Square revelers.

Bickford allegedly approached three police officers and struck them in the head with a machete. The weapon had an 18-inch long blade, the NYPD said.

One of the officers at the scene fired his service weapon at the attacker, hitting Bickford in the shoulder. The gunshot created a brief moment of panic as crowds ran to safety.

All three officers and the suspect were taken by first responders to Bellevue Hospital. The officers are in stable condition

One of the officers, an 8-year veteran of the force, was hospitalized with a laceration to the head. Another officer, a rookie cop who just graduated from the Police Academy on Friday, was also hospitalized with a skull fracture and a laceration.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he spoke with the young officer ‘as he was getting stitched up’ in the hospital.

‘He was in good spirits. He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today,’ Adams told reporters. ‘We’re really pleased by the response and how our officers handled this situation.’

Adams confirmed that all three officers were in stable condition and that there were no credible threats to the public.\

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