The 19-year-old Maine man accused of attacking three NYPD officers with a machete in Midtown on New Year’s Eve night was hit with attempted murder charges Monday.
Both the NYPD and FBI are investigating why the suspect, identified in published reports as Travis Bickford of Wells, Maine, went on the attack just after 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2022 about 10 blocks away from the heart of the raucous New Year’s Eve celebration.
Bickford was shot by police amid the violence and is now hospitalized. On Jan. 2, the NYPD officially charged him with two counts each of attempted murder of a police officer and attempted assault.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that investigators are reviewing some of Bickford’s online posts which contained mentions of Islamic extremist views, prompting agents to consider the attack as a possible act of terror. It’s believed that Bickford allegedly acted alone.
The investigation remains ongoing.
According to Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Mayor Eric Adams, a rookie police officer who had only just graduated the day prior was one of the three cops left hospitalized in Bellevue Hospital on Dec. 31, 2022.
The NYPD’s top cop said the incident took place at 10:11 p.m. Saturday evening on West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue when a 19-year-old suspect attacked three uniformed officers with a machete, swinging at their heads.
One quick-fingered cop was able to shoot down the attacker with a single bullet to the man’s shoulder. Unfortunately, an 8-year veteran on the force suffered a laceration to the head while a rookie cop on his first day on the job also suffered a laceration and skull fracture. All three officers and the suspect were treated at Bellevue Hospital and are in stable condition.
The police commissioner stressed that this incident took place outside of the New Year’s Eve checkpoint zone.
Video on the Citizen app shows the massive police response to the violent episode, which occurred about 10 blocks north of the Times Square New Year’s Eve party, where thousands were crammed in to watch the big ball drop at midnight.
Two Officers Injured, One Stabbed in Midtown @CitizenApp
W 52nd St & 8th Ave 9:28:25 PM EST
“This is another reminder of what our officers face. There were a lot of people out tonight, we are asking anyone who has any information to please call Crime Stoppers,” Commissioner Sewell said.
Both Commissioner Sewell and Mayor Adams gave speeches at the NYPD graduation on Friday morning and less than 24-hours later found themselves in the emergency room visiting one of the graduates in what served as a pipeline from police academy to hospital bed.
“One of the officers heard from the police commissioner and I just a few days ago at his graduation. It just goes to show you if it is not the first day, it could be your last day, the actions that police officers must take every day are life threatening situations. I spoke with [the rookie officer] and his dad and his mom and his girlfriend as he was being stitched up, and he was in good spirits. He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today,” Adams said.
When FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field office Michael J. Driscoll and Commissioner Sewell were quizzed by amNewYork Metro regarding the suspect’s criminal and mental history, the duo reiterated that the investigation is still in its early stages.
Anyone with information regarding this incident can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.
Updated on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.