Report: Times Square New Year's Eve Attacker Was 'Known Wolf' Whose Family Notified Authorities

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Police have now charged a Maine teenager Trevor Bickford, 19, with attempted murder and assault after he allegedly attacked two New York City police officers with a machete in Manhattan near Times Square on New Year’s Eve.


Bickford went up to three police officers who were on New Year’s Eve duty. He attacked and slashed two of the officers with a machete. One of those officers was on his first day on the job. The suspect was then shot in the shoulder and stopped by the third officer, who was also injured. All three officers are expected to recover.

Bickford is being investigated for Islamic extremism, although he’s not facing terrorism charges yet. Turns out that he was being watched by the FBI’s counterterrorism task force, according to the NY Post.

According to sources, Bickford reportedly told law enforcement after he was arrested that he just hatched the plan on Friday and wanted to attack police officers because police are the “enemy of the state.” He allegedly only turned radical within the last month.

It was so bad, his family called the authorities.

Bickford’s mother and aunt had notified authorities because he apparently made statements indicating a desire to go fight in Afghanistan alongside Islamic militants, landing him on the FBI’s terrorism “Guardian Watchlist,” according to the sources.

Investigators were said to be looking at Bickford’s Internet history, including his phone and computer.

The suspected cop-hater carried a diary and a handwritten manifesto in his backpack in which he urged his family to “please repent to Allah and accept Islam,” according to sources.


Bickford also had a last will and testament with him, indicating that he thought he was going to be killed in the attempt. The authorities are also looking into possible jihadist writings that he may have made online.

Prior to his father’s death in 2018, he was described as a normal teen who played on the Wells High championship football team, won awards for art, and made the honor roll.

Imagine how bad it has to be for the family to go to the authorities, to report their concerns. They did the right thing. The family got that he was in crisis.

But the question is then why weren’t they watching him, given how serious that must have been? Once again, you had a “known wolf,” but seemingly the inability to stop him.

Why is this always the case? Now, there are limitations in terms of actions that you can take until the person breaks the law or gives you probable cause, but given the family notification, it sounds like he would have been a priority for watching. But obviously, they weren’t watching very closely if he was able to go all the way on a train from Maine to NYC without anyone stopping him.


Plus, I can’t help but think about this case that perhaps — with more attention — this man and other “known wolves” might have been stopped. But, as we saw in the Twitter files release about the FBI task force looking into “foreign influence” on elections, the FBI spent a lot of time looking at Americans, not foreign influence, and jokes about elections, flagging speech that was then suppressed by Twitter. When you’re looking at that use of time, maybe stopping a terrorist attack is just slightly more important than jokes that the election is on Wednesday and not Tuesday.


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