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Man charged with attempted murder after New Year's Eve machete attack on NYPD officers

The man arrested in connection with an attack that injured several New York City police officers during the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault, a spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed to CBS News.

Trevor Bickford, 19, was taken into custody after three officers were targeted by a suspect wielding a machete, officials say. Law enforcement sources tell CBS News that Bickford, who is from Wells, Maine, had recently been added to the FBI's terror watchlist. A high-ranking police source told CBS New York Bickford was placed on the list after his aunt reported that he had been radicalized online and expressed a desire to travel overseas and join Islamic extremists.

The attack took place at around 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 31, just a few blocks from where thousands of people packed Times Square to watch the ball drop at midnight, said city officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, at a news conference several hours after it happened. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said two officers had been struck in the head by a suspect carrying a machete, and both were hospitalized for their injuries. 

One officer, who suffered a fractured skull during the attack, had just graduated from the police academy on Friday. It was his first day working on the police force, officials said. A second officer, in his eighth year with the NYPD, was hospitalized for a laceration. Police say those two officers were struck by the machete after the suspect initially tried to attack a third officer just outside of the designated high-security zone surrounding the Times Square festivities. 

All three officers are expected to recover.

The suspect was also wounded in the attack when one police officer fired a gun that struck him in the shoulder, authorities said early Sunday morning. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and is expected to recover.

Law enforcement officials with the NYPD and the FBI said at Sunday's news conference that they believe the suspect acted alone and the attack did not signal any ongoing threat to the community. 

"We believe this was a sole individual at this time. There's nothing to indicate otherwise," said Mike Driscoll, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office. "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."

Two law enforcement sources told CBS News that Bickford traveled from Maine to New York City spent the night before the attack at a homeless shelter downtown. They said investigators are executing search warrants at his residence and are combing through cellphone data, social media accounts and financial records.

The sources also said a notebook was found in the suspect's backpack with writings about wanting to go to Afghanistan and train to become a holy warrior. They said there was also a note addressed to his family.

Sources also told CBS New York a bomb squad was dispatched in response to a suspicious package found with a sleeping bag and another bag containing food in a wooded area in Forest Park, Queens, on Sunday, which authorities believe may have belonged to Bickford.

A police probe into the machete attack is ongoing, and investigators traveled to Bickford's family home in Wells, Maine, over the weekend as they worked to determine a potential motive. Officials are asking anyone with information about the case to submit tips to NYPD's website or the Crime Stoppers hotline.

CBS News' Pat Milton contributed reporting.

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