A suspect wielding a machete attacked and injured three New York Police Department officers near Times Square during New Year’s Eve celebrations Saturday night. One of the officers attacked was a rookie on his first day on the job.
The attack occurred around 9:30 pm as crowds gathered to ring in the New Year. Per the New York Post:
The officer — who graduated Friday and was assigned to a Staten Island precinct but was working the New Year’s Eve detail for the night — was stationed at West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue when the machete-wielding madman approached him and two other officers around 9:30 p.m., NYPD sources told The Post.
The rookie cop was slashed in the head, prompting another cop to shoot the suspect. The rookie cop, identified by Mayor Eric Adams as Paul, was struck on the head, prompting another cop to shoot the suspect, striking him in the shoulder, the sources said. Paul suffered a large laceration and skull fracture, Sewell said.
One of the other cops, an eight-year veteran, was also struck on the head with the weapon and suffered a laceration.
The NYPD shared a photograph of the recovered weapon on Twitter.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 1, 2023
The suspect has since been identified as 19-year-old Trevor Bickford and reportedly is being investigated for potential ties to Islamic extremism. Per The Post:
Senior law enforcement officials told The Post that cops are investigating whether he is a recently radicalized Islamic extremist, based on online postings.
Bickford, who remains hospitalized at Bellevue, does not appear to have a criminal record. However, according to The Post:
[P]olice sources said the FBI in Boston has an open case on him and he is on something called a guardian list because of his radicalization. Bickford’s aunt notified authorities because he apparently made statements to her indicating a desire to go fight in Afghanistan, police sources said.
Per WMTW, Bickford, who resides in Maine, traveled to New York from Maine on December 19th, via Amtrak.
A third officer was apparently injured when he was struck by a police car while attempting to move barricades to allow responding officers access to the scene:
“They moved the barricades really fast. He was a police officer in front of the barricade area and he moved it for police cars to move fast — and that’s when the barricade fell and got hit by the car. He got double whammied,” witness Kim Novack told The Post.
Thankfully, none of the officers’ injuries are thought to be life-threatening — all are reported to be in stable condition.
Following the attack, New York Mayor Eric Adams praised the NYPD:
Mayor Eric Adams praised the level of training officers receive to respond to such an incident. He said the three officers maintained the scene and got it under control.
“I think it’s a real reflection of how well our police officers are trained and the level of courage they bring to this occupation,” he said.