UPDATE: Suspect no longer at IU after attack on Muslim woman

Triceten Bickford
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The 19-year-old IU sophomore accused of attacking a Muslim woman in Bloomington over the weekend is no longer a student at IU as a result of the incident, according to a university spokesperson.

IU spokesman Mark Land told the Associated Press the university's dean of students "dismissed" Triceten Bickford from the school Monday evening as a "direct result of what happened over the weekend."
    
Land says that for privacy reasons he cannot go into the details of the university's action against Bickford, but says Bickford's dismissal from IU "wasn't his choice." Bickford is a Fort Wayne resident who had been a sophomore majoring in psychology.
    
Land says the university won't have anything more to say about Bickford, and will "let the legal process run its course."

Bickford is accused of attacking a Muslim woman Saturday night outside a café, yelling racial slurs and strangling her. The FBI Indianapolis office Monday initiated a civil rights investigation into what could be a federal hate crime.

“He started to yell ‘White power,' couple times he yelled 'White power, White power,' very loud,” the victim told Eyewitness News. She asked not to be identified.

The verbal assault at a table outside the Sofra Cafe in the 300 block of south Walnut Street in Bloomington, then turned physical.

“I found him at my neck, like pushing me down, squeezing my neck, and putting my head to the table,” she said.

A 47-year-old Turkish immigrant in the U.S. 18 years, she said she has never experienced any type of discrimination or racism, let alone an all-out attack.

“That never happened in my life. He pulled my scarf off, and, if I didn't grab his hands, he could have killed me," she said.

She reported pain to her neck, but did not require medical attention. Her 9-year-old daughter was with her at the time of the attack, but was not physically harmed.

"That's not who I am. I'm not a hateful person," explained the suspect, Triceten Bickford. “I love people. I don't know where that came from,” he said, referring to the attack.

Bickford was arrested Saturday, then released on $500 bond.

"They're making me out to be a monster. I'm just a normal person," Bickford said.

Monday afternoon, he was on his way to classes at IU where he was a sophomore majoring in psychology. He said he has no memory of what happened outside the cafe and can't imagine why he did what he's accused of doing. He explained that he didn’t take his daily dose of anti-anxiety medicine and had been drinking heavily. A police report indicated his blood alcohol level was .19, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

“I'm so sorry to that woman. I have no idea who she is, but words can't explain how much that-- I've never hurt someone like that before,” said Bickford.

The woman said Bickford will have to ask forgiveness - not from her, but from God.

He may also have to ask for forgiveness from a judge. He'll be in court on Friday facing six charges, including felonies for strangulation and battery on a police officer since he’s accused of biting an officer after being arrested. He also allegedly tried to kick out the windows of the police car.

If the FBI determines it was a hate crime, he could face additional charges.

Indiana is one of five states without a hate crime statute. There is a federal hate crime statute.

An IU spokesperson released a statement Monday regarding the incident. It read:

"Indiana University is aware of the horrifying incident involving one of our students and a member of the Bloomington Muslim community over the weekend.

"This type of abhorrent behavior is not representative of our students, nor of the culture of inclusion and tolerance so many people at the university and in the Bloomington community have worked so hard to foster.

"The university is closely monitoring the Bloomington Police investigation into this matter, and IU Bloomington Provost  Lauren Robel has instructed the Dean of Students' office to conduct its own investigation into the incident."