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Tipsheet

Suspect in Times Square New Years Eve Attack Was 'Known to the FBI'

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The teenage suspect being held for attacking police officers in New York City on New Year’s Eve was reportedly on a terrorist watch list and was interviewed by FBI agents weeks before the attack.

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To recap, three officers who were assigned to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York’s Times Square were injured by a teenager, Trevor Bickford, 19, with a machete who “expressed militant support for Islam,” according to NBC:

The suspect approached an officer and tried to strike him over the head with the machete, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. He then struck two officers in the head with the blade before he was shot in the shoulder and apprehended by police, Sewell said.

Three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation said late Sunday that authorities were looking into whether the suspect reached for one of the officers' service weapons during their takedown. The injured police were out of the hospital and expected to recover.

Authorities shared that Bickford is from Wells, Maine and was “known to federal agents.” 

Reportedly, Bickford was interviewed by the FBI in mid-December after one of his relative’s alerted the agency to his “revolutionary support for Islam.” He was known to investigators for his social media postings and made “pro-jihadist statements from his hospital bed overnight.”

“He had expressed some desire to travel to Afghanistan in the past, the officials said. Terrorist-related propaganda and personal writings were found in his backpack, they said,” NBC reported.

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Bickford’s mother and grandmother became “increasingly concerned” about his desire to move to Afghanistan and join the Taliban and reported this to the police department in Wells, Maine on December 10, according to CNN. From that point, the FBI opened a wider investigation into Bickford and placed him on a terrorist watch list. 

Reportedly, Bickford’s dairy showed that he wrote on December 31 “this will likely be my last entry” and left details on how to split up his belongings to his family and instructions on his burial. It outlined his desire to join the Taliban and criticized his brother for serving in the U.S. military, CNN also noted. The backpack was found on the street in a pile with other backpacks that were taken from people entering security checkpoints around Times Square.

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