Trevor Bickford enters a subway station in New York City on Dec. 31, 2022, hours before he attacked police officers in Times Square. Surveillance image from court documents

Trevor Bickford of Wells pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted murder and assault charges, admitting that he attacked three New York City police officers with a machete near Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2022.

Prosecutors said Bickford’s attack was an act of “radical Islamic jihad” that he planned for months, studying materials promoting the Taliban and contemplating ways to kill as many officers as possible.

Bickford, 20, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New York to three counts of attempted murder of officers and employees of the U.S. government and persons assisting them; and three counts of assault of officers and employees of the U.S. government and persons assisting them. He was scheduled to begin trial March 18.

“I attempted to kill three NYPD officers with a knife while they were working in Manhattan,” Bickford said in describing his crimes to Judge P. Kevin Castel, The Associated Press reported. “I know what I did was wrong and I’m sorry.”

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 120 years in prison. Sentencing is set for April 11.

Questioned by the judge, Bickford said he was pleading guilty without any kind of agreement with prosecutors. He also said he was taking three medications for treatment of schizoaffective disorder.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Kushner told the judge that evidence included the foot-long machete that Bickford used, as well as post-arrest statements in which Bickford left “no doubt” that he attacked the officers because they were military-age men.

Bickford attacked the officers on the edge of a high-security zone where revelers were screened before entering the blocks around Times Square, according to authorities. The attack occurred about two hours before the new year began.

Bickford shouted “Allahu akbar” – the Arabic phrase for God is great – before striking the officers in the head with the machete and trying to grab an officer’s gun, authorities said. One officer suffered a fractured skull.

All three officers were injured in the attack. Bickford was shot in the shoulder by police and taken to a hospital. Authorities say he had studied radical Islamic ideology and decided to wage jihad against U.S. officials.

Kushner said Bickford had intended to die a martyr in the attack and believed it was unsuccessful because nobody died, AP reported.

The prosecutor said Bickford had originally intended to go overseas and fight alongside terrorists there but eventually decided to carry out an attack in the United States instead. She said he told investigators that he had walked around Times Square before the attack, “trying to figure out the right time to kill.”


Investigators said Bickford spent months contemplating ways to wage jihad and reading materials espousing radical Islamic ideology – including materials promoting the Taliban and reflecting the teachings of Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, a prominent Islamic cleric who was a spiritual mentor of al Qaeda.

Near the scene of the attack, police recovered a book from Bickford’s backpack with the following passage highlighted: “Fight in the Name of Allah and in the Cause of Allah. Fight against those who do not believe in Allah. Wage a holy war.”

After the plea, Bickford was returned to a federal facility, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He still faces state charges in connection with the attack.

“A year and one day ago today, this office charged Trevor Bickford with attempting to murder three NYPD officers while they were on duty protecting the thousands of civilians who flocked to Times Square just over a year ago to celebrate the New Year with friends and family,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bickford targeted the iconic yearly celebration to carry out “brazen acts of violence and hatred in the name of jihad,” Williams said in a statement.

“Today’s guilty plea should serve as a warning: Terrorists who target and attack law enforcement and endanger the American people will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

“The defendant in this case, motivated by violent extremist views, traveled to New York City for the sole purpose of committing acts of violence and attacked three police officers causing serious injuries,” said FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. “Police officers bravely protect the American people and attacks against them cannot be tolerated. The FBI will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable all those who engage in acts of terrorism.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: