FBI investigators entered the suspect's home in the popular resort town of Wells, Maine, on Sunday, just one day after the teen was arrested for his machete assault near Times Square.
At around 10 pm on New Year's Eve, on Eighth Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street, Bickford attacked two officers with a machete, before a third officer shot the suspect in the shoulder, cutting short his spree.
The Post Millennial reported on Sunday that the suspect was being "watched by the FBI's counterterrorism task force in the weeks leading up to Saturday's attack," and that he was on the Bureau's terrorism "Guardian Watchlist" for his alleged "jihadist writings."
Bickford was described as being a typical "all-American teen," who was on the honor roll, won awards for his artwork, and played football for his hometown.
Following the death of his father from an overdose in 2018, the suspect converted to Islam and allegedly became increasingly radicalized. Recent social media photos showed him wearing a Kufi cap, traditionally worn by male followers of Islam.
The teen made his way to New York alone on Amtrak, carrying with him camping gear, a diary, and a last will and testament. He had allegedly told his aunt that he was planning to travel to Afghanistan to fight.
The FBI has said that they would be working closely with the NYPD through the Joint Terrorism Task Force "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 so our ability to talk about specifics is limited," Michael Driscoll, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office, said on Sunday.
The attack took place just outside the security zone of Times Square New Year's Eve celebrations. New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, praised the officers for their work in protecting the crowd from what could have been worse.
"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 a new year," the Mayor said on Sunday.
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