The Wells man accused of attacking three New York City police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve told a detective that he wanted to kill an officer in uniform, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.

Trevor Bickford, 19, is charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, four counts of assault and one count of attempted assault in connection with the attack, which took place just outside the security perimeter for the New Year’s celebration in Times Square. Two officers were struck in the head before Bickford was shot in the shoulder by a third officer, police said.

Bickford has been at Bellevue Hospital since the night of the attack and was arraigned from his hospital bed Wednesday. A judge granted prosecutors’ request that Bickford remain in custody.

He is facing a mandatory life sentence on the attempted murder charges.

In a complaint filed in court Wednesday, Detective Kim Strafella of the Joint Terrorism Task Force said video surveillance and recordings from body-worn cameras showed Bickford hitting the three uniformed officers at about 10:10 p.m. at the southeast corner of 8th Avenue and West 52nd Street.

During an interview, Bickford told Strafella, “I wanted to kill an officer in uniform. I saw the officer and waited until he was alone. I said Allahu akbar. I walked up and hit him over the head with a kukri. I charged another officer but dropped the knife and I tried to get the police officer’s gun but couldn’t,” the complaint states.


After the attack, the crime scene unit recovered a large black knife at the scene, the complaint said.

During Wednesday’s arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Lucy Nicholas said Bickford posed a “significant” flight risk and that he had traveled from Maine to New York “to begin carrying out his crimes of murder of government officials.”

Bickford indicated that he intended to travel across the United States and had purchased an Amtrak ticket to Miami. He also indicated that he had initially wanted to travel internationally, but decided to go to New York first “in order to kill people and carry out jihad,” Nicholas said.

Bickford has no contacts in New York City or New York state that prosecutors are aware of, she said.

“(Bickford) also stated that all government officials are a target for him as they cannot be proper Muslims because the United States government supports Israel,” Nicholas said. “He specifically targeted a uniformed police officer because an officer is a man in a uniform with a weapon and all men of military age are targets for the defendant.”

Bickford was represented Wednesday by Rosemary Vassalo-Vellucci of the Legal Aid Society.


“Trevor Bickford, who is just a teenager, has no prior contact with the criminal legal system. Earlier today, Mr. Bickford was arraigned from Bellevue Hospital after languishing in NYPD custody for nearly four days despite a well-established court requirement that an arraignment take place within 24 hours of arrest,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement. “We’ve just received initial discovery from the district attorney’s office, and we’ll have more to say about this case after a thorough review and investigation. For now, we ask the public to refrain from drawing hasty conclusions and to respect the privacy of our client’s family.”

Law enforcement sources, who didn’t want to be named because of the ongoing investigation, have told CNN and the New York Times that Bickford converted to Islam sometime in the past year and a half and had been drifting toward radical Islamic ideology. He became angered by the persecution of Muslims overseas and decided to go abroad to fight, the Times reported.

Multiple media outlets cite anonymous law enforcement sources as saying that Bickford’s mother and aunt reported concerns about his views to law enforcement, landing him on the FBI watchlist and preventing him from traveling internationally.

Authorities are examining whether he made the trip specifically to attack police at the Times Square festivities, a law enforcement official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

CNN reported that Bickford’s backpack contained a handwritten diary expressing his desire to join the Taliban in Afghanistan and die a martyr. Bickford also had written a farewell letter to his family.

In the letter, Bickford wrote to his mother, “I fear greatly that a piece of you believes so that you may be taken out of the hellfire,” the Times reported.

Bickford grew up in Wells, where he played football and wrestled. He was a member of the 2020 Wells High School state championship wrestling team and won an honorable mention award for jewelry in the 2020 Maine Region Scholastic Art Awards.

Law enforcement, including Wells Police and uniformed FBI agents, were at the same Wells house Sunday night where Bickford lived with his mother, his stepfather and younger brother when he was a student at Wells High School. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed the agency was conducting court-authorized activity in connection with an ongoing federal investigation.

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 family’s residence.

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