The teenager accused of attacking three New York police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve wanted to murder government officials and shouted “Allahu akbar” during the incident, authorities said Wednesday.
Prosecutors alleged that the suspect traveled to New York City from Maine last week “to kill people and carry out jihad,” CNN reported. According to authorities, the 19-year-old male from Wells, Maine, attacked three NYPD officers near Times Square on Saturday at roughly 10:11 p.m., attempting to strike one before hitting two other officers in the head with a machete. The suspect also allegedly tried to grab an officer’s gun but couldn’t get it out of the holster.
The suspect faces a mandatory life sentence after he was charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted assault. He was arraigned by video from a Manhattan hospital and is being held without bail. The alleged attacker did not enter a plea deal, and he is scheduled for another court appearance on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
He was reportedly placed on an FBI terror watchlist recently after his aunt claimed he had been radicalized online and expressed a desire to fight overseas for Islamic extremists. He allegedly made pro-jihadi statements from his hospital bed and had writings in his backpack that contained Islamic extremist propaganda. Law enforcement sources told NBC that federal investigators had interviewed the suspect before the machete attack.
Officials claim the teenager had written instructions in a diary about where he wanted to be buried and who should get his belongings. The suspect also allegedly wrote that he was sorry for disappointing his mom and wanted his brother to join him in his radical Islamic beliefs.
The teenager was shot in the shoulder by one of the officers he had attacked and is expected to survive his injuries.
All three NYPD officers were taken to a hospital and have since been released. One officer, identified as an eight-year veteran, sustained a laceration to the head. Another, who graduated from the police academy on Friday, suffered a skull fracture and large laceration, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.