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Accused Times Square jihadist held without bail as new details emerge about his plan to kill cops

The NYPD released this photo of the large knife used by the attacker shot by officers near Times Square. (NYPD/DCPI/TNS)

The recently radicalized Maine teen arrested in an unprovoked New Year’s Eve machete attack on police came to Times Square with murder on his mind, prosecutors charged Wednesday.

Suspect Trevor Bickford was held without bail Wednesday at a Bellevue Hospital arraignment where authorities detailed his chilling confession to the savage one-man assault targeting three NYPD officers less than two hours before the arrival of 2023.

“I wanted to kill an officer in uniform,” said 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.”

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,” said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Lucy Nicholas.

“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 suspect even scrapped 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, said Nicholas — adding Bickford specifically arrived in Midtown “to begin carrying out his crimes of murder of government officials.”

The defendant faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted on the charges of attempted murder, two counts of assault and attempted assault, she added. A friend told the Daily News that Bickford had converted to Islam this past summer, adding the suspect said he “liked the teachings.”

Bickford was arraigned less than a week after the 19-year-old traveled from his sleepy Maine hometown by train to New York before attacking the officers with the blade as nearby Times Square filled with holiday revelers.

The teen fractured a rookie cop’s skull and injured two other officers in the frenzied assault, with an officer finally shooting and wounding Bickford in his left shoulder, authorities said.

The suspect twice responded “yes” to standard questions from the judge, but otherwise said nothing during the arraignment.

His neighbors in Wells, Maine, described the terrorist suspect as an average teen who worked on a local golf course last summer and once played football for the local junior high school team.

The friend, who worked with Bickford at a Maine course, said Bickford announced his sudden conversion to Islam without much detail, and the local police chief in Maine said the teen’s mother reported her son had become radicalized in a Dec. 10 conversation. The FBI was notified about Bickford’s change of heart, the chief added.

The suspect was defended by the Legal Aid Society, which released a statement noting Bickford had no criminal record and spent nearly four days in custody before his first court appearance.

“We just received initial discovery from the district attorney’s office, and we’ll have more to say about this case after a thorough review and investigation,” the statement read. “For now, we ask the public to refrain from drawing hasty conclusions.”

Bickford was staying in a Queens Park before his trip into Manhattan, and police sources said the teen expected to die during the attack — even asking for a traditional Muslim funeral in a note recovered by investigators.


© 2023 New York Daily News

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