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Man in New Year’s Eve machete attack faces federal indictment : NPR

NEW YORK — A man accused of attacking police with a machete near New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve is now facing federal terrorism charges after he decided to wage jihad against the U.S. government. , officials announced on Tuesday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that Trevor Thomas Bickford has been accused of federal crimes in connection with the self-proclaimed jihad against U.S. government officials and the knife attack on three police officers in Times Square. He said he was indicted.

Bickford has already been charged with murder, assault, and attempted assault of a police officer in Manhattan state court. If convicted, he faces mandatory life in prison.

State prosecutors said Bickford yelled “Allahu akbar” around 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve before hitting one police officer in the head and attempting to grab another’s gun. He was shot in the shoulder by police during a confrontation and was held without bail after being arraigned on video from a Manhattan hospital.

The Legal Aid Society, the public defense team representing Bickford, urged the public to “refrain from making hasty conclusions and respect the privacy of the client’s family.”

Bickford, 19, from Wells, Maine, began studying radical Islamic ideology last summer, officials said.

They said he decided in November to carry out jihad against U.S. and other government officials whom he considered un-Muslim.

He has been charged with four counts of attempted murder against U.S. government officials and employees and those who assist them. Each charge could carry him to 20 years in prison if convicted. He was scheduled to appear in federal court at a later date.

According to a criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court, Bickford told his family in late November or early December that he wanted to go to Jordan or Afghanistan and commit suicide bombings for his religion, and told his brother, a U.S. Army soldier, also talked about He said in a text message in mid-December that he wanted to go to Afghanistan to join the Taliban.

He booked a flight to Jordan on December 12, but did not board the flight, the complaint said.

A day later, the FBI gave him a random interview, according to the complaint, in which Mr Bickford said he had purchased a plane ticket to New Delhi, India, a few weeks earlier and was planning to go to Afghanistan afterwards. He hoped to form an “ally” with the Taliban and persuade them to help combat oppression of Muslims in pre-Burma Myanmar, the complaint added.

According to the complaint, Bickford argued that he did not agree with the Taliban’s use of violence against civilians and did not intend to join al-Qaeda.

He said he started reading the Qur’an in May or June and started going to mosques, but he thought mosques weren’t enough, so he started following the Imam on YouTube.

The FBI launched an investigation into Bickford in mid-December based in part on concerns expressed by his family about his behavior, according to the complaint.

The family reported that Bickford recently converted to Islam and began frequenting mosques in and around Maine and New Hampshire.

They also reported that he had begun investigating the Taliban and had purchased a crossbow he planned to take to Afghanistan after expressing interest in traveling to Afghanistan to join the Taliban.

According to the complaint, Bickford eventually scrapped plans to travel abroad in November and instead went to the United States as part of a plan to “perform jihad against government officials he believes to be anti-Muslim.” Decided to carry out jihad at home against the US government, including the US government. ”

As part of that effort, Bickford traveled from Maine to New York City for the Dec. 31 attacks, the complaint says.

After the Times Square attack, Bickford said in a law enforcement interview that “the attack was carried out with the intention of carrying out jihad, and Bickford’s mission included targeting an elderly man in the military who worked for the U.S. government.” “It included killing as many such officials as he did,” he said.

Bickford told law enforcement that he walked around Times Square on Dec. 31 before the attack, “trying to find the right time to kill.” He added that he had been praying for a long time.

“Bickford intended to die in the attack in order to achieve martyrdom,” the complaint said. I believed.”

https://www.npr.org/2023/01/11/1148325659/suspect-in-the-new-years-eve-machete-attack-near-times-square-faces-federal-char Man in New Year’s Eve machete attack faces federal indictment : NPR

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