Last Updated on January 1, 2023

The suspect accused of attacking a rookie New York Police Department cop with a machete during New Year’s Eve celebrations was reportedly on the FBI’s Islamic extremism watchlist.

The officer — who graduated Friday and was assigned to a Staten Island precinct but was working the New Year’s Eve detail for the night — was stationed not far from Times Square at West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue when a machete-wielding suspect attacked him around 9:30 p.m., according to the New York Post.

The rookie cop, identified by Mayor Eric Adams as “Paul,” suffered injuries to his face and head during the attack. He is currently being treated for lacerations to his face and a skull fracture, New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a press conference on Sunday morning.

Another officer then drew his weapon and shot the suspect, hitting him in the shoulder and stopping the attack. The attack was “unprovoked,” Adams stressed at the press conference.

The suspect, who was soon identified as 19-year-old Trevor Bickford, was arrested and taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police are currently reviewing his online posts to determine whether he was recently radicalized.

Fox News, citing a “high level police source,” reported that Bickford was being watched by the FBI’s counterterrorism task force in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s attack. The source added that the 19-year-old had recently converted to Islam and that a tipster had shared that he expressed interest in travelling to Afghanistan.

“I want to be clear that the FBI, through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, is working very closely with [NYPD] to determine the nature of this attack,” the FBI’s Michael Driscoll said at a Sunday morning news conference. “And we will run every lead to ground. I also want to be very clear, as you’ve heard said tonight previously, this is very much an ongoing investigation so our ability to talk about specifics is limited.”

Mayor Adams and senior law enforcement officials are expected to deliver updates during a press conference late Sunday.

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