Machete Attack-Police

New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell addresses media Saturday. A man wielding a machete attacked three police officers at the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City, authorities said, striking two of them in the head before an officer shot the man in the shoulder. The two officers were hospitalized, one with a fractured skull and the other with a bad laceration, but expected to recover. NYPD via AP

NEW YORK — FBI agents were seen Sunday night entering the family home of a Wells man suspected of attacking three New York City police officers a night earlier during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration, striking two of them in the head before an officer shot the man in the shoulder.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed law enforcement official, identified the man as Trevor Bickford, 19, of Wells, Maine. The New York Police Department late Sunday had not identified the suspect, who was being treated for his injury at Bellevue Hospital.

But an FBI spokeswoman confirmed the agency was conducting court-authorized activity in connection with an ongoing federal investigation at the same Wells house where Bickford lived with his mother, his stepfather and younger brother when he was a student at Wells High School.

“This is very much an active, ongoing investigation,” spokeswoman Kristen Setera of the FBI’s Boston office said Sunday. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is working closely with NYPD to determine the nature of this attack and we will run every lead to ground.”

Authorities in New York City are investigating whether the man was inspired by radical Islamic extremism, the Associated Press said, citing the unnamed official.

A man waved off a reporter attempting to approach the house Sunday, saying it was private property. Three dark-colored SUVs were parked in the driveway. Wells Police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam said Sunday night that her department was assisting but directed all questions about Bickford to the FBI.


More law enforcement, including Wells Police and uniformed FBI agents, arrived at the two-story house at around 6 p.m. and could be seen entering the home.

The attack happened a little after 10 p.m. about eight blocks from Times Square, just outside of the high-security zone where revelers are screened for weapons.

The two officers were hospitalized, one with a fractured skull and the other with a bad cut, but were expected to recover. The suspect was also expected to recover.

The attack and sound of a gunshot briefly sent some people in the crowd running, but the incident did not affect the festivities in Times Square, which continued uninterrupted.

ABC News has reported that Bickford traveled by Amtrak from Maine to New York City on Dec. 19.

Bickford’s mother, Audra D’Antilio Simpson, posted a tribute to her son on her Facebook page when he turned 19 in July.


“So proud and lucky to be able to call you my son. (You’re) an old soul and you amaze me every day with all that you enjoy to explore and do,” Simpson wrote. “I am so beyond proud of the man you are becoming.”

Bickford’s father, Tom, died unexpectedly at age 41 in 2018, according to his obituary. He had a “very active” role in the lives of their three sons, and “could often be found coaching them at football and wrestling,” the obituary said.

Bickford competed in football and wrestling while in high school, according to team programs, and was a member of the 2020 Wells High School state championship wrestling team. Jodie Lawlor, the Wells-Ogunquit school district’s athletic director, had no comment when reached by the Press Herald on Sunday.

Bickford also won an honorable mention award for jewelry in the 2020 Maine Region Scholastic Art Awards, according to the Portsmouth Herald.

Wells High School Principal Eileen Sheehy declined to comment on Bickford when reached by the Press Herald on Sunday.

ABC News reported Sunday that Bickford’s mother, Audra D’Antilio Simpson, and aunt notified law enforcement recently that he was attracted to violent Islamist ideologies, citing unnamed police sources. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is looking into the suspect, the agency said.


Neighbors in Wells, who did not wish to be identified because they know the family, said the family was known in the neighborhood, and they were surprised to hear Bickford was connected to the attack in New York City. They said Bickford had recently worked at the Old Marsh Country Club, which is located in the same neighborhood less than a mile from the residence.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference that he had spoken to one of the wounded officers as he was being stitched up at the hospital.

“He was in good spirits,” Adams said. “He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today.”

An investigation was underway to pinpoint a motive for the attack, but authorities said they didn’t believe there was any ongoing threat to the public.

Michael Driscoll, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said they believe the attacker acted alone.

The NYPD mounts a massive security operation every year to keep the New Year’s Eve crowd safe. Thousands of officers are deployed in the area, including many recruits to the force.


One of the injured officers only graduated from the police academy on Friday, the mayor said.

The blocks where the biggest crowds gather to see performances and the midnight ball drop can only be accessed through checkpoints where officers use metal-detecting wands to screen for weapons. Large bags and coolers are banned. Barriers are set up to prevent vehicle attacks in the secure area.

The security perimeter can only extend so far, though. The attack took place on 8th Avenue, which is often packed with thick crowds navigating around the frozen zone or trying to find one of the secure entrances.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

This story will be updated.

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