The Maine teen and suspected radicalized Islamist extremist accused of attacking NYPD officers near Times Square was on the FBI’s radar approximately three weeks prior to the New Year’s Eve attack, law enforcement sources told The Post on Tuesday.
Audra Simpson, the mother of Trevor Bickford, called local police on December 10 to express concern about her son’s growing obsession with Islam, according to sources. The local police then forwarded the information to federal authorities.
The FBI placed him on its “Guardian Watchlist,” but it is unknown what other steps were taken before he boarded an Amtrak train bound for New York on December 29.
Two days later, Bickford allegedly attacked the holiday security detail near the Crossroads of the World with a machete, injuring three officers, including a rookie on his first day who suffered a fractured skull. The attacker reportedly yelled “Allah Akbar” or “Allahu Akbar” as he lunged at the officers, according to sources.
Tuesday, an FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the case, telling The Post that the incident is the subject of a “very active investigation.”
Bickford, who recently adopted extremist Islamist views, was suffering from depression and had not taken his medication for over a year, according to sources.
As he became obsessed with Islam, he began to read the Quran daily and discussed traveling to Burma or China to commit Jihad, according to sources. According to the sources, the teen also considered joining Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
According to sources, Bickford was questioned by local and federal law enforcement following his arrest and stated that he had ultimately decided to target a location within the United States. However, the attack itself appeared sudden and unplanned, according to the sources.
According to neighbors and sources, Bickford “found religion” in the years following his father’s overdose death in 2018 and became increasingly immersed in Islam.
According to the sources, Bickford allegedly told authorities that he converted three to four months ago and became radicalized after reading Muslim texts at a local bookstore.
“This is a prime example of the type of person law enforcement is concerned about in terms of extremism,” said a police source.
In addition to the “manifesto” he carried, authorities discovered several religious texts, including a copy of the document “Stop Genocide, Save Rohingya Now, Burma Task Force,” according to sources.
Sources said the alleged homegrown terrorist spent several hours in Times Square and left a sleeping bag, a bed roll and other items at Forest Park in Queens, and booked a room at a Bowery hotel. According to sources, a MetroCard he used led police to Queens.
At 9:30 p.m. on December 31, he allegedly lunged at three police officers on 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue with a Gurkha knife, a type of machete, and injured them before being shot in the shoulder by one of the officers.
Tuesday, the troubled adolescent was still recovering from his wounds at Bellevue Hospital. He was awaiting his arraignment on charges of attempted murder and assault.
The incident shocked locals in Wells — a resort town on the Maine coast with a population of just over 11,000 — where Bickford once seemed like a typical American teenager, a former honor student and part of a championship-winning high school team.
On Tuesday, the teen’s mother was observed posting “Private Property” signs outside her mother’s home to keep reporters away from the family.