A man who allegedly assaulted three NYPD officers with a machete in a New Year’s Eve attack motivated by Islamic extremism has been arraigned on charges including attempted murder, prosecutors say.
Trevor Bickford, 19, was charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, three counts of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree attempted assault at his arraignment on Wednesday, a complaint filed with the Manhattan district attorney’s office shows.
A judge ordered Bickford held without bail after prosecutors maintained he posed a “significant flight risk,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said.
What You Need To Know
- Trevor Bickford, 19, was charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, three counts of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree attempted assault at his arraignment on Wednesday
- Bickford allegedly assaulted three NYPD officers with a machete in a New Year’s Eve attack motivated by Islamic extremism
- A judge ordered Bickford held without bail after prosecutors maintained he posed a “significant flight risk,” a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney's office said
An NYPD officer shot Bickford in the shoulder after he allegedly attacked three officers with a machete at the corner of West 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue on Saturday, authorities said — less than two hours before the New Year’s Eve ball dropped blocks away in Times Square.
The attack left an officer who had just graduated from the Police Academy the day before with skull fractures and cuts to his head, police and prosecutors said. A second officer was concussed and sustained cuts to the forehead, while a third officer suffered body pain and head lacerations, according to prosecutors.
Police sources on Monday told NY1 Bickford’s family reported him to law enforcement officials in mid-December, believing he had become radicalized following a recent conversion to Islam.
A Joint Terrorism Task Force detective who interviewed Bickford after his arrest said the Wells, Maine resident told her he wanted to kill a uniformed officer, according to his criminal complaint.
Bickford told the detective he waited until one of the NYPD officers was “alone,” then said “Allahu Akbar,” walked up to the officer and hit him in the head with the machete, the complaint said. Bickford also said he tried — but failed — to grab the officer’s gun, the complaint added.
In an application requesting Bickford be held without bail, prosecutors said he arrived in the five boroughs a few days before the attack intent on carrying out "jihad,” the DA’s spokesperson said.
The application said Bickford “stated that all government officials are a target for him as they cannot be proper Muslims because the United States government supports Israel.”
“He specifically targeted a uniformed police officer because an officer is a man in uniform with a weapon, and all men of military age are targets for the defendant,” the application added.
During an appearance on “Mornings On 1” Tuesday, NYPD Chief of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Thomas Galati said Bickford was known to authorities in Maine, but was not on the NYPD’s radar.
Bickford's mother contacted the Wells, Maine, Police Department on Dec. 10 to express concerns about her son, and the department notified the FBI, Wells Police Capt. Jerry Congdon said Tuesday. He could not discuss the interaction further, but said Bickford was not a concern to local police.
The Times Square attack "was as much of a surprise to us as it was anyone else," Congdon said. "He was certainly flying under the radar."
FBI agents were seen Sunday entering Bickford's family home in Wells, a popular beach destination close to the New Hampshire border. Bickford competed in sports in high school, was part of Maine's state champion wrestling team in 2020 and made the honor roll for his studies at least one year.
Bickford's online postings included some mentions of Islamic extremist views, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter. The official could not publicly discuss details about the ongoing investigation and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
In a statement provided to NY1 on Wednesday, the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Bickford, said he “is just a teenager” and “has no prior contact with the criminal legal system.”
“Earlier today, Mr. Bickford was arraigned from Bellevue Hospital after languishing in NYPD custody for nearly four days despite a well-established court requirement that an arraignment take place within 24 hours of arrest,” the statement read.
“We’ve just received initial discovery from the District Attorney’s office, and we’ll have more to say about this case after a thorough review and investigation,” it added. “For now, we ask the public to refrain from drawing hasty conclusions and to respect the privacy of our client’s family.”
Bickford’s next court appearance is set for Jan. 6, the DA’s spokesperson said.