The man accused of attempting to kill two New York City police officers on New Year’s Eve has been hit with federal charges, according to the Department of Justice.
Trevor Bickford, 19, allegedly used a machete to attack two New York City Police officers in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve and is reported to have traveled from Maine. He was charged with two counts of attempted murder of an officer and two counts of attempted assault, and is now being charged with four counts of attempted murder of officers and employees of the U.S. Government and persons assisting them.
Bickford allegedly committed the attack nearly two hours before midnight outside the secure area at Times Square where individuals are searched for weapons.
Before Bickford was shot by a police officer, authorities said he hit two officers with the machete. One of the officers received a fractured skull because of the incident while the other had a bad cut, but are expected to recover.
The individual was on the FBI’s radar for weeks prior to the attack, according to reports. A high-level police source previously told Fox News Digital that he had recently converted to Islam and said that authorities received a tip saying that Bickford expressed interest in traveling to Afghanistan.
The Department of Justice says that Bickford attempted to “wage Jihad by killing U.S. Government officials,” and says that in 2022 he began consuming materials “espousing radical Islamic ideology” such as “promoting the Taliban and reflecting the teachings of Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a prominent radical Islamic cleric who was a spiritual mentor of al Qaeda.”
According to the Justice Department, this led to Bickford’s radicalization and “devoting himself to violent Islamic extremism and waging jihad.”
Bickford’s radicalization led to a desire to travel to the Middle East to “support the Taliban,” and began taking steps to “ally himself with the Taliban and work with the Taliban to fight against governments that, in [his] view, oppress Muslims,” the DOJ said.
The 19-year-old also told a family member that he “wanted to travel to the Middle East so that he could be a suicide bomber for his religion,” the Justice Department alleges.
Bickford decided that he wanted to stay in the United States and not travel to the Middle East in order to “wage jihad against the U.S. Government within the United States,” authorities said in a press release.
Just before Bickford allegedly carried out the attacks, he said “Allahu Akbar,” which is an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great,” the DOJ said.
Among the items recovered by law enforcement was a journal belonging to Bickford which had an entry from Dec. 31, 2022 stating that “this will likely be my last entry,” and said that his brother has “joined the ranks of my enemy” after enlisting in the U.S. military, officials said.
The DOJ also said that a book inside a bag belonging to Bickford was found by authorities and contained a highlighted quote reading “Fight in the Name of Allah and in the Cause of Allah. Fight against those who do not believe in Allah. Wage a holy war.”
After he was arrested, Bickford told authorities that he walked around the area of Times Square on New Year’s Eve “trying to figure out the right time to kill” and also recited Quran verses in his head to “hype himself up” before the alleged attack.
When authorities asked Bickford why he committed the attack, he said that “all men of military age were his targets; no one can work for the U.S. Government and be a true Muslim because the U.S. Government supports Israel; and he wanted to kill as many of these targets as he could.”
Bickford also intended to die in the attack, authorities said, adding that he claimed that the attack was “unsuccessful” because he “did not kill any officers, and he did not die himself.”
If convicted, Bickford faces a potential sentence of 80 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland said “We are deeply grateful for the bravery of the officers who were injured in this horrible attack and who put their lives on the line every day to serve their communities. Together with our law enforcement partners at every level of government, the Justice Department will continue to work to disrupt, investigate, and prosecute those who target and attack law enforcement and endanger the American people.”
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace, Anders Hagstrom, and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.