Knife-Wielding Jihadi Who Attacked New York Cops on New Year’s Eve Cites US Support of Israel As Motive
The 19-year-old man who attacked three police officers with a knife in New York on New Year’s Eve told authorities he had come to the city “in order to kill people and carry out jihad,” prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Maine resident Trevor Bickford also allegedly said that all government officials were legitimate targets in his view, including Muslims since “they cannot be proper Muslims because the United States government supports Israel.”
Bickford was charged Wednesday by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office with attempted murder in the first degree and attempted assault. The attack occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday just north of Times Square.
Bickford, who is understood to have converted to Islam within the past year and a half, uttered the words “Allahu akbar” before hitting one officer over the head with a long knife known as a kukri, according to court documents. He then charged another officer, dropping the knife in the process, and made an unsuccessful grab at the officer’s gun before another officer used his service weapon to wound him in the shoulder.
One of the officers, Paul Cozzolino, suffered a fractured skull, but has been released from the hospital, as have the other two who were attacked. One of those officers, Michael Hanna, shot Mr. Bickford, who attended his virtual court appearance from the hospital on Wednesday. The judge ordered him held without bail.
Bickford’s aunt, Muriella D’Antilio, told the New York Times that she disputed the authorities characterization of her nephew as a “terrorist”, claiming that he was suffering from depression.
“He’s not a terrorist, and I want that label off of him,” she said.
Investigators believe Bickford acted alone, NBC News reported, and plan to search for more evidence at his Maine home. Neighbors who knew Bickford and his family told NBC Boston that they were surprised by the allegations.