Police working New Year’s Eve in Times Square were injured by a machete-wielding man who struck several officers in the head in what law enforcement is investigating as a possible targeted attack.
Federal and local authorities are digging into the background of 19-year-old Trevor Bickford, who allegedly attacked a group of NYPD officers outside a Times Square security checkpoint shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, multiple law enforcement sources said.
Bickford, of Wells, Maine, allegedly approached officers on Manhattan’s 8th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets, armed with a large knife, which he used to swing at three different officers, said NYPD Commissioner Kichant Sewell at a news conference overnight.
Sewell said the man struck two of the officers in the head, causing an 8-year veteran to lacerate his head and a recent police academy graduate to fracture his skull. All three NYPD members were taken to Bellevue Hospital and were expected to survive.
At least one officer fired at the suspect, hitting him in the shoulder. Police sources said the alleged attacker’s injuries were also non-life-threatening. A preliminary examination shows the man has not been arrested before but was known to federal and local law enforcement due to previous online postings, the sources added.
Law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether the man who allegedly attacked the officers had previously posted what they called jihadist writings online and traveled to New York to attack police.
“We believe it was a single person at this point, there’s nothing to suggest otherwise,” said Mike Driscoll, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is also investigating.
The stabbing and shooting startled a long line of crowds waiting to join the New Year celebrations. A local pizzeria employee said panicked revelers fled amid the chaos.
Police have cordoned off the immediate area for an investigation. A nearby New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square was not affected.
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