The recently-radicalized teenager arrested for a New Year’s Eve machete attack in Times Square, New York was held without bail on Wednesday, January 4 as police authorities detailed his chilling confession to the unprovoked attack on three police officers.
“I wanted to kill an officer in uniform,” said suspect Trevor Bickford, according to court documents.
“I saw the officer and waited until he was alone. I said, ‘Allahu Akbar.’ I walked up and hit him over the head with a (machete). I charged another officer but dropped the knife.
“And I tried to get the police officer’s gun but couldn’t.”
Assistant District Attorney Lucy Nicholas described the defendant as a flight risk “who specifically traveled to New York from Maine in order to begin carrying out his crimes of murder of government officials” at the arraignment inside Bellevue Hospital.
The prosecutor said the unapologetic Bickford specifically singled out the uniformed cops because “an officer is a man in a uniform with a weapon, and all men of military age are targets for the defendant,” the prosecutor said.
The suspect even changed his plans to travel internationally before his trip to New York, saying he first wanted to “kill people and carry out jihad” in the nation’s largest city, the prosecutor said.
The defendant faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted on the charges of attempted murder, two counts of assault and attempted assault, she added.
Bickford was arraigned less than a week after the 19-year-old traveled from his sleepy Maine hometown to Manhattan by train before attacking the officers with a machete as nearby Times Square filled with people celebrating New year’s eve. A friend told the Daily News that Bickford had converted to Islam this past summer.
“Defendant admitted that he purposely waited until he saw a moment when the officer was isolated and not near any civilians when he could attack him,” said Nicholas. “Defendant also stated that all government officials were a target to him … because the United States government supports Israel.”
The teen fractured a police man’s skull with the blade and injured two other officers in the frenzied assault, with an officer finally shooting and wounding Bickford in his left shoulder, authorities said. He was taken to Bellevue for treatment and charged with attempted murder, authorities said.
The suspect’s neighbours in Wells, Maine, described him as an average teen who worked on a local golf course last summer and once played football for the local junior high school team.
A co-worker at the golf course said Bickford announced his sudden conversion to Islam earlier this year, and the local police chief in Maine said the teen’s mother reported he became radicalized in a Dec. 10 conversation. The FBI was notified about Bickford’s radical change of heart, the chief added.