Investigators are working to determine if a machete attack that injured three NYPD officers blocks away from Times Square on New Year’s Eve was motivated by terrorism.
The suspected attacker, 19-year-old Trevor Bickford of Maine, remains in the hospital after being shot in the shoulder. He is said to be stable condition.
The three officers who were wounded are recovering at home.
Early Monday, authorities were in and out of the suspect’s home in Wells, Maine. He was charged Monday afternoon with attempted murder of a police officer and attempted assault.
The attack happened near 52nd Street and 8th Avenue just after 10 p.m. Saturday, less than two hours before the ball dropped in Times Square to ring in 2023.
Authorities say Bickford, who took an Amtrak train from Maine to New York City on Thursday, whipped out a machete and attached the three officers, striking two of them in the head.
One officer suffered a fractured skull, another was treated for a bad cut. One is an eight-year veteran, and one of the others is a rookie officer who just graduated from the police academy on Friday.
Moments after the attack, Bickford was shot in the shoulder by police.
The attack and sound of a gunshot briefly sent some people in the crowd running, but the incident did not impact the festivities in Times Square, which continued uninterrupted.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference Sunday that he had spoken to one of the wounded officers as he was being treated at the hospital.
“He was in good spirits,” Adams said. “He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today.”
The attack is being investigated as a possible incident of terrorism because of online postings Bickford made before the attack.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that he was radicalized by Islamic extremists.
According to sources, the mother and aunt of Trevor Bickford notified law enforcement in recent weeks about their concerns he was gravitating toward dangerous Islamist ideologies.
A neighbor in Maine, Steve Isles, told reporters Bickford has two brothers, and they’re well known in the neighborhood.
“It’s kind of hard to believe, I was just shocked, you know?” said Isles. “Wells is a very small community and you think, you know, ‘Did this really just happen here?’ My son Andrew went to high school with the boys. They weren’t really close, they weren’t close friends or whatever. But Wells has, you know, a really small school system. So everybody kind of knows everybody.”
Should authorities determine the attack was motivated by an Islamist ideology it would make it the first-ever terror incident associated with New Year’s Eve in Times Square, something the NYPD and FBI have long feared and prepared for.