Prosecutors indicted a machete-wielding Muslim extremist on several attempted murder and terrorism charges after he targeted New York City police officers in a premeditated New Year’s Eve attack.
Trevor Bickford was charged with more than 10 crimes related to the assault, six of which include terrorism enhancements, the office of Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.) announced on Wednesday. The 19-year-old wounded three officers the night of Dec. 31, 2022, with his machete, fracturing the skull of one, before he was shot by another officer. He was indicted for attempted first-degree murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism, attempted first-degree murder, and a string of assaults that included terrorism enhancements, among other charges.
Bragg said in a press release that the charges "demonstrate just how seriously we are treating this incident."
Bickford, a recent convert to Islam who had intended to carry out a jihad, faces multiple life sentences in prison without parole if convicted on all counts. At an arraignment hearing in January, he told prosecutors he carried out the attack because of the United States’ support for Israel.
The indictment is a far cry from Bragg’s handling of another attack that took place in May 2021, when a mob of anti-Israel assailants chased down and beat a yarmulke-wearing Jewish man, giving him a concussion. One of those assailants, Waseem Awawdeh, was offered a cushy plea deal by Bragg last month, confining him to just six months in prison.
"If I could do it again, I would do it again," Awawdeh said, according to the New York Sun. "I have no problem doing it again." He initially faced seven years in prison.
Bickford told prosecutors he planned to attack the NYPD officers because all state officials "cannot be proper Muslims because the United States government supports Israel." Bragg’s office requested he be held without bail afterward, arguing that he posed "a significant flight risk."
The Wells, Maine, native left his family’s home in December, later telling prosecutors he had plans to travel to the Middle East by way of Miami before he "decided to come to New York first in order to kill people and carry out jihad."
In a diary he kept that was recovered by his family after the attack, Bickford referred to law enforcement, as well as his brother who serves in the U.S. military, as the "enemy." He also begged his family members to "repent to Allah" and "accept Islam."
Bickford’s indictment comes just days after acclaimed novelist Salman Rushdie announced he was on the mend after recovering from a brutal knifing by an Islamic extremist in upstate New York.