January 1, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you and Happy New Year's, and it is a happy New Year's. We have three officers who are going home. Three officers were attacked today. They were doing their jobs, the jobs that members of the New York City Police Department and other first responders and law enforcement officers do every day. And as we do a preliminary review of the body cam video, we see how well these officers executed the plan that was put in place by the New York City Police Department in ensuring we protect those who came here to bring in the New Year's. This attack took place outside of the screen area and it is why the commissioner and her team ensures that we properly screen everyone entering the area where the viewing is actually taking place. New Yorkers visited here, they visited and saw thousands of officers who were in the area making sure that we could have a safe bringing in the New Year's.
And the three officers involved in this incident, they were doing just that. One of the officers heard from the police commissioner and I just a few days ago at his graduation. It just goes to show you if it's not the first day or could be your last day, the actions that police officers must take every day, life-threatening situations. I spoke with Paul and his dad, whose name is Paul as well, and his mom and his girlfriend as he was being stitched up and he was in good spirits. He understood that his role saved lives of New Yorkers today. And we are really pleased by the response and how our officers handled this situation. All three of the officers are in stable conditions and there are no credible threats to New Yorkers at this time.
Again, this attack took place outside of the area that the police department has identified as the area that we wanted to do primary focus on and these officers responded in an admirable, professional manner and all officers involved. And I must say that even after the incident took place, the respondent officers made sure the scene was under control and returned to the primary focus of ensuring that everyone that was here in Times Square received the best professional service that we offer as a police entity and the other first responders that participated in this evening. I want to turn it over to the police commissioner at this time and then we'll hear from the FBI and then we will open up to any further questions after whomever else needs to speak. Commissioner.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for being here. I'll go over some details and reiterate a few things the mayor has just said. The information I'm about to provide is preliminary as this incident is only a few hours old. Earlier this evening at approximately 10:11 p.m., officers assigned to the New Year's Eve detail we're at the corner of West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue outside of the security screening zone, when unprovoked, a 19-year-old male approached an officer and attempted to strike him over the head with a machete. The male then struck two additional officers in the head with a machete. One officer, an eight-year veteran, suffered a laceration to the head. The second officer who graduated from the police academy on Friday was also struck in the head, resulting in a skull fracture and large laceration. One of the officers fired their service weapon striking the subject in the shoulder.
The three officers were removed to Bellevue Hospital where I'm relieved to report that they're in stable condition. I would like to thank assistant directors of nursing Dionne Bernadel and Bruce Martin and all the staff here at Bellevue Hospital for their excellent care of our officers. The subject was also removed to Bellevue Hospital where he's being treated for his injuries. We are working with our federal partners for this investigation and it is ongoing. I would like to stress, as the mayor said, there is no active threat at this time. This is another reminder of what our officers face. There were a lot of people out tonight. We are asking anyone who has any information to please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. And now I'd like to turn it over to the FBI Assistant Director in charge, Michael Driscoll.
Michael Driscoll, FBI Assistant Director: Thank you commissioner, mayor. I appreciate the invitation to join you tonight. I want to start tonight by commending the brave actions by the members of the NYPD who responded to this attack tonight. Truly impressive to see what they do every day and even more impressive to see how they respond in times of emergency. I want to thank the commissioner and the NYPD for their coordination on this. And I want to be clear that the FBI through the Joint Terrorism Task Force is working very closely with them to determine the nature of this attack 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. Our ability to talk about specifics is limited. And I do want to be very clear, as you heard the mayor and the commissioner state earlier, that there is no ongoing threat. We believe this was a sole individual at this time. There's nothing to indicate otherwise. Thank you.
Patrick Lynch, President, Police Benevolent Association: Once again on a holiday, we are here at a hospital but it shows what New York City police officers do and we thanked an awful lot of folks here. But one of the things we need to thank is our fellow police officers who responded to that 1013 by the thousands to make sure it didn't get worse. Got their colleagues here to the hospital so the staff here can stitch us up, but remember those family members, the family members who were probably watching the ball drop on the television and then their phone rings expecting a Happy New Year call then to find out that we're sending a car, we'll be picking you up, we'll be bringing you to the hospital. Let's think about those family members here who are in shock right now, never thinking the first call of the year would be their son, their husband, their family member would be here in Bellevue Hospital.
Moderator: All right, take a couple questions.
Question: Can you tell us about the criminal history of the suspect and do they have any mental health issues that you can talk about?
Commissioner Sewell: Like we said, this is an active investigation. We're not able to go into that at this time.
Question: FBI Director, is this being looked at as a terrorism incident and is the suspect, Trevor Bickford from Maine, that came down here with the apparent intent to attack police officers?
Commissioner Sewell: The JTTF is working with NYPD intel on that investigation, it is ongoing.
Question: And is that the suspect?
Commissioner Sewell: You can answer.
Driscoll: No, I just want to echo that. The reason the Joint Terrorism Task Force gets involved in investigations like this is to ascertain what is the nature of the attack. So beyond that, we cannot say any further right now and we're not going to comment about any particulars regarding the subject or any associates. But at the time, just to be clear, we're not aware of any ongoing threat.
Question: What's your reaction to this happening to a rookie (inaudible) police academy who graduates and (inaudible) to the ICU?
Mayor Adams: It really reflects the level of training we receive. Our officers that are trained are prepared for day one. This officer responded with the level of professionalism that we expect from all of our officers. We know that they are receiving and have received some of the finest training of any law enforcement entity on the globe. And that was on clear display how these officers responded, they maintained the scene, they got the scene immediately under control of those responding officers. Then after securing assistance for their fellow officer and subduing the person involved, the officers responded back to the locations because we still had the city we had to protect. And so I think it's a real reflection on how well our police officers are trained and the level of courage that they bring to this occupation.
Moderator: All right. This will be our last question.
Question: Commissioner. I know in the past, sometimes, you've been able to show us the weapon, I don't know if you happen to have that -
Commissioner Sewell: Do we have... I think we do have the weapon. Yes. We'll show you the weapon there.
Question: And then secondly, did this individual have any sort of online postings or prior contact with law enforcement (inaudible)?
Commissioner Sewell: Again, this is part of the investigation. We're not able to go into that at this time. Thank you.