By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – A 19-year-old man accused of attacking three New York City police officers with a machete near Times Square on New Year’s eve, a crime investigators have linked to Islamic extremism, was charged in federal court on Tuesday with attempted murder.
The suspect, Trevor Bickford, already faces similar charges in state court. It was not immediately clear which case would move forward first.
“We allege that the defendant plotted a jihad-inspired attack targeting U.S. government officials, and on December 31st, 2022, attacked three NYPD officers who were part of the joint federal-state law enforcement operation protecting the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration,” U.S Attorney Merrick Garland said in announcing the charges.
Attorneys for the Legal Aid Society, representing Bickford, could not be reached by Reuters for comment on Tuesday evening.
Prosecutors say the 19-year-old man had considered traveling to Afghanistan to ally himself with the Taliban before attacking three police officers with a machete shortly before midnight on December 31 outside a secure area set up for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
All three officers survived and Bickford was taken into custody after being shot in the shoulder by police gunfire.
Authorities say that FBI agents interviewed Bickford in December after his mother reported her concern that her son was possibly becoming radicalized. The agents placed him on a federal watch list to prevent him from traveling overseas.