The man accused of attacking two New York police officers near Times Square on New Year’s Eve was charged Monday with attempted murder.
Trevor Bickford, a 19-year-old described by authorities as a recently radicalized jihadist visiting Manhattan from Maine, could also face federal terrorism charges.
Bickford’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on attempted murder and attempted assault charges was pending Monday as he continued to be treated at Bellevue Hospital after being shot by police during the attack.
At about 10 p.m. Saturday, Bickford allegedly went after officers stationed at Eighth Avenue and W. 52nd Street just outside the Times Square New Year’s Eve frozen zone, police said.
New York Police Department Officer Paul Cozzolino, who graduated from the Police Academy on Friday, suffered a fractured skull and cut to his head on his first day on the job. Officer Louis Iorio, an eight-year NYPD veteran, suffered a less serious gash to his head.
The attack ended when Officer Michael Hanna, who joined the NYPD in April, shot Bickford in the shoulder.
Cozzolino and Iorio were treated at Bellevue and released Sunday.
Investigators believe Bickford was acting alone.
Bickford was interviewed by the feds in Maine last month after his mother alerted authorities she was worried about his plans to go to Afghanistan, possibly to join the Taliban, a police source said Monday. It was not clear how far along those plans were, the source said.
Nonetheless, Bickford was put on a watch list, a move that typically triggers a notification to various law enforcement agencies. The NYPD is generally looped in on such moves, but police sources Sunday indicated that did not happen.
The FBI and the NYPD have routinely talked about their close partnership. But the FBI has yet to comment on the Bickford case, and an NYPD spokesperson declined to say if the department has pressed the FBI on what it knew about Bickford prior to the attack.
Bickford, whose radicalization apparently took shape about a month ago, traveled last Thursday by train to Manhattan from his home in Maine.
He spent Friday night at a hotel in the Bowery, according to The New York Times, and stopped by the Bowery Mission to make a donation in keeping with the Muslim principles of charity. He also took the subway to Queens and appears to have camped out in Forest Park in Richmond Hill, The Times reported. A sleeping bag, a bed roll and food were recovered there by police, although it’s not clear if he met anyone.
In a diary found in his backpack after the attack, he apologized to his family, particularly his mother, for not doing well enough in life, a police source told the Daily News. He urged his family to accept Allah and lamented that his brother was in the U.S. military, which Bickford considers an enemy.
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