Trevor Bickford, the teenager who attacked two NYPD officers with a machete, shouted Allah Akbar" or "Allahu Akbar" before lunging at the officers at the Times Square on the New Year's Eve. Bickford also rebuked his brother, a US Marine, for losing his way.
Bickford Converted to Islam After His Father's Death From Overdose
Speaking to the New York Post, sources at the NYPD revealed that in the unprovoked attack before lunging at cops, the 19-year-old shouted the religious cry. He was charged with attempted murder and assault which left three cops injured, including a rookie who suffered a skull fracture his first day on the job.
Hailing from Wells, Maine, Bickford arrived in the city as a tourist on December 29. Speaking to the outlet, Bickford's neighbours in Maine revealed that the 19-year-old found religion following the death of his father from a drug overdose in 2018.
The sources revealed that the radicalisation of the youth took place last month. He was staying in a room at a Bowery hotel on the Lower East Side on Friday night. A handwritten note found in his belongings urged his family members to "embrace Allah". In the note Bickford also spoke about his brother being part of US Marine Corps who as per the attacker had lost his way.
"I fear greatly you will not repent to Allah and therefore I hold hope in my heart that a piece of you believes so that you may be taken out of the hellfir," a part of the note read.
Social Media Reacts
The New York Times reported that apart from converting to Islam, Bickford also started praying at mosques in the area and regularly read and watched videos about Islam. The outlet reported that the 19-year-old was also disturbed by the persecution of Muslims overseas, including of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China.
The incident sparked a lot of the reactions from the social media users. "Trevor Bickford wanted to join the Taliban. A great example of how the terrorism hits home if a group of terrorists are empowered anywhere in the world. The Taliban certainly will try to recruit such individuals and use them for their benefit," tweeted a user.
"Trevor Bickford 19, attacked police forces in New York; was an active online member of the terrorist Taliban of Afghanistan. He was hired by the Taliban on Facebook and other social media. It was the first Taliban terrorist attack on American soil since the Taliban took over," read another tweet.