NEW YORK — An attacker with a machete assaulted three NYPD officers just outside the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, fracturing a rookie cop’s skull before police shot him in the shoulder, police said.
Cops and federal investigators are now looking into whether the 19-year-old suspect, identified by sources as Trevor Bickford of Maine, is a radicalized terrorist, law enforcement sources said.
At around 10:11 p.m. at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and W. 52nd Street the attacker tried to swing a machete into a police officer’s head, said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
The machete-wielding man then successfully slashed two other officers, Sewell said.
One of the injured officers, an eight-year veteran, suffered a cut to his head, Sewell said. The second officer, who graduated from the Police Academy on Friday, suffered a “large laceration” and a skull fracture, the commissioner said.
“One of the officers fired their service weapon, striking the subject in the shoulder,” Sewell said.
Workers at a halal stand near the scene heard what they thought were explosions that may have been gunshots.
“I heard the sounds only — Bang! Bang!” recounted one of the workers, Prodip Bisws. “People were running, oh my God, they were running.”
Police at the scene quickly took the machete-wielding man into custody.
The officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital, as was the suspect. All three were in stable condition, Sewell said.
FBI agents were at the scene. Assistant FBI Director Mike Driscoll told reporters the bureau was “trying to determine the nature of this attack,” but there appeared to be no “ongoing” threat.
At a news conference with Sewell and other law enforcement officials, Mayor Adams praised the police handling of the incident.
“These officers responded in an admirable, professional manner,” Adams said.
The incident took place just outside the security zone in Times Square, where thousands gathered for the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. Police screened revelers for contraband such as alcohol, large bags, and weapons.
The attack on the three cops occurred 10 short blocks north and one long block west of the heart of the Times Square.
In an earlier incident around 8:45 p.m., two men were taken into custody after they got into a knife fight at the intersection of W. 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, near Bryant Park, also outside the Times Square security zone.
One of the men was taken to Bellevue Hospital, and both were taken into police custody.