A suspect—believed to have been obsessed with Islam—who targeted three NYPD officers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in a machete attack is facing terrorism charges, with the victims of the attack expected to make a recovery.

On Friday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office reported that the suspect, Trevor Bickford, 19, has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts, including aggravated assault on a police officer as an act of terrorism, first-degree attempted murder, and first-degree attempted murder in the furtherance of an act of terrorism. Bickford is facing 18 felony counts in total.

“We are grateful for our NYPD officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, as well as our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement on Friday, according to CBS.

“These charges reflect the seriousness of this alleged threat to the safety of our city and our officers.”

Bickford is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 1.

During the New Year’s Eve attack, two of the officers were struck in the head. A third officer was attacked outside a designated high-security zone. Bickford was wounded after a police officer shot a gun and injured his shoulder. He was arrested on the scene. The three injured officers are expected to recover.

Islamist Links

In his criminal complaint, Bickford admitted to a detective with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force that he “wanted to kill an officer in uniform.”

On Dec. 31, Bickford waited until an officer was alone, chanted “Allahu Akbar,” walked to the officer, and hit his head with a machete. Allahu Akbar means “God is great” in Arabic, and is a common phrase among Muslims. Bickford then charged at another officer, dropped the machete, and attempted to grab that officer’s gun. He intended to kill the two officers using the gun but failed to get it out of the holster.

For roughly three weeks before the attack, Bickford was on the FBI’s radar. On Dec. 10, Bickford’s mother Audra Simpson had called the town police and expressed concerns about her son’s rising obsession with Islam.

“As a result of that conversation, we gave her some direction and then we notified the FBI,” Wells Police Capt. Gerald Congdon told the New York Post. “It was some of the information that she was concerned about that she had heard from Trevor.” The FBI placed him on their “Guardian Watchlist.”

Bickford is said to have become interested in Islam after his father died from an overdose in 2018. He started reading the Quran on a daily basis and became obsessed with the religion, planning to travel to China or Burma to commit jihad. He also considered joining the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A Normal American Kid

Bickford showed no signs of extremism for much of the earlier part of his life. He was among a group of students who won awards for their artwork as recently as 2020.

Bickford’s father used to post pictures of his sons and their achievements prior to his death. Family and friends also praised the boys, talking about their bright futures. His mother eventually remarried. In a July 28 Facebook post, Audra Simpson shared a photo of her son, wishing him on his 19th birthday.

“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,” she wrote, according to Daily Mail.

“I love that you have no fear of trying new things, and you truly are the best brother ever. I am so beyond proud of the man you are becoming, I love you.”

Just six months later, Bickford was accused of attacking NYPD officers.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.

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