Everything we know about machete attack at New York’s Times Square during New Year’s Eve celebrations

A 19-year-old recent convert to an extremist Islamic ideology allegedly attacked three police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve.

Trevor Bickford was arrested after he allegedly attacked the officers in Times Square and has since been charged with multiple crimes.

Here’s everything we know about the New Year’s Eve machete attack.

The attack

In the days before New Year’s Eve, Mr Bickford allegedly traveled from his home in Wells, Maine to New York City via Amtrak train and stayed at the Bowery Mission in Manhattan. Just after 10pm on New Years Eve, Mr Bickford allegedly removed a machete from his bag and began attacking a trio of NYPD officers at a checkpoint near Times Square.

One of the officers was hit on the head with the handle of the machete and suffered blunt force trauma. Another — reportedly a rookie working his first assignment — was slashed, leaving a gash across his head. A third was also attacked but managed to fire a shot into Mr Bickford’s shoulder, stopping the alleged attack.

The officers and Mr Bickford were all taken to area hospitals for treatment, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Trevor Bickford

Sources speaking to the New York Post allegedly claimed that Mr Bickford became “radicalised” in recent months, though it is unclear what drove his reported conversion and zealotry.

Trevor Bickford (Facebook)
Trevor Bickford (Facebook)

Prior to the attack, Mr Bickford was described by sources speaking to the New York Post as a relatively normal high schooler. He reportedly played on his high school football team and won an award for his art. His father died in 2018, though it is unclear if his father’s death had any impact on the extremist ideologies he is said to have adopted.

However, a high school classmate of Mr Bickford’s told The New York Post that she began to notice him wearing "religious garb" shortly after his father died.

“It seemed like his dad died and then he started,” she told the publication.

Another classmate told the paper that Mr Bickford was "normal" and "quiet."

According to NBC News, Mr Bickford made statements in line with Islamic extremist ideologies overnight in the hospital. After his arrest, he allegedly told investigators he targeted police because they are "enemies of the state."

CNN reports that investigators are currently seeking warrants to review Mr Bickford’s online activity to see if he had been viewing extremist content online.

The machete used in a New Year’s Eve attack on NYPD officers near Times Square (NYPD)
The machete used in a New Year’s Eve attack on NYPD officers near Times Square (NYPD)

A day before the attack the NYPD issued a bulletin to other law enforcement agencies alerting them to a video call from Isis for individual attacks by extremists. The bulletin’s headline read “ISIS-Aligned Media Unit Releases Video Ahead of New Year’s Eve, Demanding Lone Offender Attacks.”

The video reportedly included “selected video clips, suggesting various means of attack, including explosives, handguns, knives, and toxins,” the bulletin said.

Sources speaking with The New York Post claimed that Mr Bickford was considering travelling to Afghanistan to fight alongside Islamic forces in the country.

Bickford’s letter

Mr Bickford had a backpack with him and was reportedly carrying religious materials as well as a handwritten letter addressed to his family.

In the letter, Mr Bickford expresses regret to his mother for not being a better son and calls on her and his brothers to convert to Islam.

"To my family — specifically, mother — I’m sorry for not having been a good enough son," Mr Bickford reportedly wrote in the note. "I fear greatly that you will not repent to Allah. And therefore I hold hope in my heart that a piece of you believes so that you may be taken out of the hellfire."

He also reportedly addressed his brothers in the letter.

"To [my brother] Travis. Of anyone I’ve known who I have felt is closest to faith — it’s you," Mr Bickford allegedly wrote. "Of anyone I’ve ever wanted to accept Islam with me — it’s you. Please repent to Allah and accept Islam. I fear for you."

The letter suggested his relationship with his brother Devon had become strained prior to the attack.

"To Devon, there was a time when we were close, but that time has passed," Mr Bickford allegedly wrote. "You have joined the ranks of my enemy. And for that I can give you no kind words — return to Allah."

According to The New York Post, Mr Bickford’s brother, Devon, is a member of the US Marine Corps.


Mr Bickford was charged on Monday with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted assault.

A police source speaking to The New York Daily News said the case is being investigated as a terrorist attack.

“It’s being investigated as a terror attack, 100%,” the source told the outlet. “He radicalized about a month ago. He’s not affiliated with any group. It’s more like a lone-wolf situation.”

Mr Bickford was reportedly added to the FBI’s “Guardian Watchlist” after allegedly posting online about his desires to travel to Afghanistan and fight alongside Islamic militants.

If determined to be a terrorist attack, it would be the first to occur at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, which is among the largest in the world.