Damian Williams, the USA Legal professional for the Southern District of New York, Merrick B. Garland, the Legal professional Common of the USA, Christopher A. Wray, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director in Cost of the New York Subject Workplace of the FBI, and Keechant L. Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York Metropolis Police Division (“NYPD”), introduced at this time that TREVOR THOMAS BICKFORD has been charged with federal crimes in reference to BICKFORD’s efforts to wage jihad by killing U.S. Authorities officers and his knife assault on three NYPD officers in Instances Sq. on New 12 months’s Eve. BICKFORD was charged by Grievance with trying to kill officers and workers of the U.S. Authorities and individuals helping them. BICKFORD is at the moment in state custody and will likely be transported to and introduced in Manhattan federal court docket at a later date to face the federal costs filed within the Southern District of New York.
U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams stated: “On this previous New 12 months’s Eve, revelers flocked to Instances Sq. to ring within the New 12 months with family and friends. However Trevor Bickford allegedly focused the enduring yearly celebration to hold out a brazen act of violence and hatred within the title of jihad. Bickford’s alleged assault in one of the visited locations on the planet on its busiest evening of the 12 months sarcastically solely served to highlight the coordination, resolve, and dedication of American regulation enforcement to protect the wellbeing of the general public. We sincerely thank our regulation enforcement companions for his or her excellent work and bravado, and particularly want a full and speedy restoration to the officers injured on this mindless assault.”
Legal professional Common Merrick B. Garland stated: “As detailed in at this time’s grievance, we allege that the defendant plotted a jihad-inspired assault concentrating on U.S. authorities officers, and on December 31st, 2022, attacked three NYPD officers who have been a part of the joint federal-state regulation enforcement operation defending the Instances Sq. New 12 months’s Eve celebration. We’re deeply grateful for the bravery of the officers who have been injured on this horrible assault and who put their lives on the road every single day to serve their communities. Along with our regulation enforcement companions at each stage of presidency, the Justice Division will proceed to work to disrupt, examine, and prosecute those that goal and assault regulation enforcement and endanger the American folks.”
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray stated: “As alleged, three New York Metropolis Police Division officers have been brutally assaulted in a jihad-inspired assault on New 12 months’s Eve whereas they have been performing their duties to guard their metropolis and people out celebrating the vacation. Being a regulation enforcement officer requires courageous people keen to place their lives on the road every single day to maintain others protected. We’re dedicated to holding those that would goal regulation enforcement with violence absolutely accountable.”
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll stated: “As we allege at this time, Bickford intentionally deliberate and executed his violent assault towards New York Metropolis Police Officers who have been merely doing their job defending the general public. Solely the short motion of those courageous officers prevented additional hurt. The FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Activity Pressure is unwavering in its mission to fight terrorism to maintain our metropolis protected, and we are going to convey any radicalized particular person keen to commit violence to justice.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell stated: “An assault towards New York Metropolis law enforcement officials is an assault towards all of us – and at this time’s costs make it clear that such violence will likely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the regulation. Our NYPD household is grateful our heroic officers survived this premeditated ambush, and your entire metropolis commends them for stopping additional bloodshed throughout one among our nation’s largest public occasions. Clearly, the specter of jihadist terrorism stays very actual, and our nation’s safety begins with the devoted native, state, and federal regulation enforcement officers who’re dedicated to holding us protected. I applaud our NYPD investigators, our companions on the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Activity Pressure, and the prosecutors within the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York for his or her mixed efforts on this vital case.”
In response to the allegations contained within the Grievance charging the defendant:
In the summertime of 2022, BICKFORD, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen and resident of Maine, started accessing and consuming supplies espousing radical Islamic ideology, together with supplies selling the Taliban and reflecting the teachings of Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a distinguished radical Islamic cleric who was a religious mentor of al Qaeda. Over the following months, BICKFORD radicalized, devoting himself to violent Islamic extremism and waging jihad.
By November 2022, BICKFORD was fascinated about touring to the Center East to assist the Taliban and took steps in direction of touring to Afghanistan to ally himself with the Taliban and work with the Taliban to battle towards governments that, in BICKFORD’s view, oppress Muslims. BICKFORD devoted himself to the mission of waging jihad towards officers of governments that he believes are anti-Muslim, together with the U.S. Authorities. BICKFORD advised a member of the family that he wished to journey to the Center East in order that he may very well be a suicide bomber for his faith. BICKFORD finally determined that he wouldn’t journey abroad, and as a substitute would wage jihad towards the U.S. Authorities inside the USA.
To hold out his jihadist mission, BICKFORD traveled from Maine to New York Metropolis in late December. On New 12 months’s Eve, BICKFORD went to Instances Sq. for the aim of killing U.S. Authorities officers, armed with a big, curved knife much like a machete, referred to as a kukri, with a blade over one foot lengthy.
Defending the civilians who attend the annual New 12 months’s Eve celebration in Instances Sq. requires and entails the coordination, collaboration, and mutual help of a number of federal and state regulation enforcement businesses, together with the FBI and NYPD. Throughout this particular occasion, the FBI and NYPD work collectively and help one another within the efficiency of their respective duties, in a collective effort to make sure a protected Instances Sq. New 12 months’s Eve celebration.
At roughly 10:10 p.m., at 52nd Avenue and Eighth Avenue, blocks away from the New 12 months’s Eve celebration in Instances Sq., BICKFORD attacked three NYPD officers, who have been detailed to the joint federal-state regulation enforcement operation to guard the New 12 months’s Eve celebration. The placement of 52nd Avenue and Eighth Avenue was an entry checkpoint at which spectators might acquire entry to the occasions in Instances Sq., and each FBI and NYPD personnel have been deployed within the space of the checkpoint, together with the three officers whom BICKFORD attacked. BICKFORD approached the NYPD officers, declared “Allahu Akbar” — an Arabic phrase that means “God is nice,” which different radical Islamic extremists have equally proclaimed whereas finishing up terrorist assaults — and stabbed and struck the officers within the head along with his kukri. Earlier than BICKFORD might assault extra targets, one of many sufferer officers shot BICKFORD within the shoulder, stopping the assault, and he was taken into state custody. BICKFORD wounded all three officers, who suffered lacerations and different accidents, and every officer needed to be taken to a hospital for therapy.
A bag that BICKFORD introduced with him to the Instances Sq. space was subsequently recovered by regulation enforcement from the scene of the assault. BICKFORD’s bag contained, amongst different issues, a ebook by al-Maqdisi selling jihad and BICKFORD’s journal. The al-Maqdisi ebook encourages followers, amongst different issues, to wage jihad towards disbelievers and governments dominated by disbelievers, and to make use of swords on the heads of disbelievers. An entry in BICKFORD’s journal from December 31, 2022 — that’s, the day of his assault — states that “this may probably be my final entry” and that BICKFORD believed his brother, a soldier within the U.S. navy, had “joined the ranks of my enemy.” A second bag that BICKFORD was carrying, additionally recovered by regulation enforcement close to Instances Sq., contained a ebook espousing violent Islamic extremism, with sure parts highlighted, together with the next: “Combat within the Identify of Allah and within the Explanation for Allah. Combat towards those that don’t imagine in Allah. Wage a holy conflict.”
The kukri that BICKFORD used within the assault, depicted beneath, was recovered by regulation enforcement from the scene of the assault:
After being handled at an area hospital, throughout a subsequent Mirandized interview, BICKFORD acknowledged, amongst different issues, the next:
- BICKFORD determined to not journey abroad to wage jihad as initially deliberate, and as a substitute to commit jihad in New York Metropolis. Within the days main as much as his New 12 months’s Eve assault, BICKFORD traveled from Maine to New York Metropolis.
- On New 12 months’s Eve, BICKFORD went to Instances Sq. and walked across the space “attempting to determine the appropriate time to kill.” BICKFORD began reciting verses from the Quran in his head to “hype himself up” for his assault.
- BICKFORD recognized an NYPD officer who was remoted from civilians and different officers, took out the kukri from his backpack, declared “Allahu Akbar,” and attacked the officer.
- After attacking that officer, BICKFORD charged at one other officer and tried however didn’t take away that officer’s firearm from the officer’s holster. One of many officer victims then shot BICKFORD within the shoulder, stopping his assault.
- When requested why he carried out the assault, BICKFORD acknowledged that the officer was a person in uniform who had a weapon; all males of navy age have been his targets; nobody can work for the U.S. Authorities and be a real Muslim as a result of the U.S. Authorities helps Israel; and he wished to kill as many of those targets as he might.
- BICKFORD supposed to die within the assault, in an effort to realize martyrdom. BICKFORD believed his assault was unsuccessful, as a result of he didn’t kill any officers, and he didn’t die himself.
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BICKFORD, 19, of Wells, Maine, is charged within the Grievance with 4 counts of tried homicide of officers and workers of the U.S. Authorities and individuals helping them, every of which carries a most sentence of 20 years in jail. The costs carry an combination potential sentence of 80 years in jail.
The utmost potential sentence on this case is prescribed by Congress and is offered right here for informational functions solely, as any sentencing of the defendant will likely be decided by a decide.
Mr. Williams praised the excellent investigative efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Activity Pressure, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 different federal, state, and native businesses.
The case is being dealt with by the Workplace’s Nationwide Safety and Worldwide Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah L. Kushner and Kaylan E. Lasky are answerable for the prosecution with help from Trial Legal professional D. Andrew Sigler of the Counterterrorism Part of the Division of Justice’s Nationwide Safety Division.
The costs contained within the Grievance are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed harmless until and till confirmed responsible.
 Because the introductory phrase signifies, the whole lot of the textual content of the Grievance, and the outline of the Grievance set forth herein, represent solely allegations and each truth described ought to be handled as an allegation.