The suspect taken into custody for striking two New York City police officers in the head with a machete in Manhattan late on New Year’s Eve may have links to radical Islam, Fox News reported, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.
About an hour after the ball dropped, city and federal authorities briefed reporters on the incident, asserting there was no “active” or “credible threat.”
Police sources said investigators are working to determine if the attacker, later identified as Trevor Bickford, is a radical, Fox News reported
The FBI’s counterterrorism task force was watching Bickford before the attack, a high-level police source told Fox News Digital, adding that Bickford also recently converted to Islam.
Moreover, the suspect had allegedly expressed interest in going to Afghanistan, Fox News noted, citing a tipster.
During the press conference in the early hours of January 1, the FBI’s Michael Driscoll revealed that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI are working together on “the ongoing investigation.”
“I want to be clear that the FBI, through the Joint Terrorism Task Force [JTTF], is working very closely with [NYPD] to determine the nature of this attack. And we will run every lead to the ground,” he said. “I also want to be very clear, as you’ve heard said tonight previously, this is very much an ongoing investigation so our ability to talk about specifics is limited.”
Still, authorities told reporters Bickford used a “machete” in the attack, posting a picture of the weapon on Twitter.
The FBI official stressed that the attack involved a “sole individual,” adding that JTTF’s involvement is aimed at probing the nature of the violent incident.
One of the officers, an eight-year veteran, suffered a “laceration,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell explained.
The other, a rookie on his first day in the field, sustained a “skull fracture and a large laceration,” she said.
“Unprovoked, a 19-year-old man approached an officer and attempted to strike him over the head with a machete,” Sewell added. “The male then struck two additional officers in the head with the machete.”
The suspect was treated for his injuries after one of the officers shot him in the shoulder, the commissioner noted.
Praising the officers’ response to the incident, NYC Mayor Eric Adams noted at the press conference, “As we do a preliminary review of the body cam video, we see how well these officers executed the plan that was put in place by the New York City Police Department in ensuring we protect those who came here to bring in a new year.”
The NYC attack, which took place about two hours before the city welcomed 2023, was one of several incidents of New Year’s Eve violence in the U.S., Fox News reported.
A shooting in Mobile, Alabama reportedly killed one person and injured nine others, sparking a police probe.