One of the NYPD officers who was attacked on New Year’s Eve by an alleged Islamic extremist armed with a machete was released from the hospital on Monday, and exclusive photos show him putting on a brave front.
Rookie Paul Cozzolino, who suffered a skull fracture in the terrifying attack near Times Square on December 31, was approached by a Post photographer near his Westchester home and gave a big grin and a thumbs up.
A day after being released from Bellevue Hospital on Sunday, the 23-year-old, who had just graduated from the Police Academy on December 30, walked past a parked Ossining police car and said, “Hey you!” while smiling for the camera.
When suspect Trevor Bickford allegedly ambushed Cozzolino and Officer Louis Iorio, 33, with an 18-inch weapon on Saturday night, they were stationed at West 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue.
Police and sources say that Iorio, a veteran of eight years who is currently stationed in Staten Island, was taken to Bellevue Hospital with a gash to the head. Like everyone else, he was set free on Sunday.
After Bickford and the other officers were attacked, sources say that another rookie officer, Michael Hanna, 27, shot him in the shoulder.
Hanna, A New Officer Who Started In April, Was Also Treated At Mount Sinai West And Released
The NYPD filed attempted murder and assault charges against Bickford on Monday, and he remained in Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell stated at a press conference early Sunday that the officers’ post was outside the area where attendees were being screened for weapons.
According to sources cited by The Post on Sunday, Bickford rode an Amtrak train to New York and arrived on December 29. He reportedly travelled alone. Sources say he also brought camping equipment, a diary, and a will along with the Gurkha machete he was planning on using.
According to sources, after his arrest, he told federal authorities that he had come up with the violent plot as recently as Friday and that he wanted to attack a uniformed officer or someone armed because they are the “enemy of the state.”
According to the sources, Bickford’s mother and aunt reported him to the authorities after he allegedly expressed a desire to join Islamic militants in Afghanistan. As a result, he was placed on the FBI’s terrorism “Guardian Watchlist.”
It has been reported that Bickford wrote a manifesto in which he begged his family to “please repent to Allah and accept Islam.”
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Shockingly, The Alleged Islamic Extremist Who Attacked NYPD Officers With A Machete Urged His Family To “Repent To Allah” In A Manifesto Posted Online
It has been reported by The Post that the 19-year-old suspect in the New Year’s Eve machete attack on NYPD officers allegedly wrote a disturbing manifesto in which he begged his family to “please repent to Allah and accept Islam.”
Sources say that Maine native Trevor Bickford, who booked a hotel room in Manhattan’s Bowery neighbourhood just days before the attack, carried the handwritten note in his backpack along with a collection of religious material and $200.
I apologise for not being a good enough son to my family, especially to my mother,” the note said, as reported by a law enforcement official.
There was a line that read, “I fear greatly that you will not repent to Allah.” As a result, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some part of you will believe and be dragged away to the fiery pits of hell.
Addressed to my brother, Travis. He supposedly wrote, “Of anyone I’ve known, it’s you who I’ve felt is closest to faith.” It is you, more than anyone else, that I have always hoped would convert to Islam along with me. Please seek Allah’s forgiveness and convert to Islam. Worrying about you is the last thing I want to do.
Upon The Passing Of His Father Several Years Ago, Bickford Of Wells, Maine Is Said To Have “Found Religion”
The father took a “very active” role in his three sons’ lives, and “could often be found coaching them at football and wrestling,” according to the Portland Press Herald.
According to these same sources, Bickford only recently became “radicalised,” within the last month. Sources say the FBI was aware of Bickford before he boarded an Amtrak train for New York on December 29.
Saturday night, around 10 p.m., he allegedly attacked police officers on duty in Times Square, including a new recruit on his first shift.
A young officer from the police academy and a police officer from Staten Island both sustained head injuries. They both suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Bellevue Hospital.
According to police, Bickford was shot and injured in the attack. He was still in the hospital on Sunday and no charges had been filed against him.
The length of time Bickford spent at the Bowery hotel is unknown, but according to police sources, he brought a machete, several other knives, and a library of religious texts with him during his stay.
Reports claim that Bickford was once a typical American teenager who made the honour roll as a freshman, won an art award for his jewellery, and played on the Wells High School football team that won a state championship.
Suspect Relatives Reported Concerns
According to ABC News sources in law enforcement, while the investigation into a motive continues, authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the suspect came to New York City specifically to attack police officers at the Times Square ball drop.
The suspect was later named as Wells, Maine native Trevor Bickford, 19, by multiple law enforcement agencies. Apparently, on the 29th of December, he boarded an Amtrak train bound for New York City.
According to the sources, federal and local law enforcement are currently scouring the suspect’s online postings for evidence of his recent radicalization to the point of extremism in Islam.
There are no criminal records for Bickford to be found. His relatives, including his mother and aunt, reported their fears to authorities in recent weeks that he was becoming increasingly radicalised by Islamist ideas, as was previously reported. According to law enforcement, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force started looking into the suspect after receiving the report.
The NYPD’s counterterrorism unit is assisting the FBI with their investigation into the New Year’s Eve attack.
If investigators find that the attack was inspired by Islamist ideology, it will be the first terror incident connected to New Year’s Eve in Times Square, officials have said.
Throughout December, “multiple pro-ISIS users disseminated extremist propaganda graphics broadly calling for attacks in advance of the New Year, advocating a wide range of low-tech tactics,” the NYPD wrote in a pre-event assessment released before New Year’s Eve. Terrorist organisations inspired by Islam have long advocated using knives.
Officials have identified one of the injured officers as an eight-year NYPD veteran who sustained a head laceration. Another injured cop had just finished the police academy on the previous Friday and been given the traditional first assignment of working the New Year’s Eve detail in Times Square. The rookie officer was also struck in the head, resulting in a fractured skull and a large laceration, according to reports.