A 29-year-old man drove a rental truck into a pedestrian and bike path along the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan in New York City Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring 11 in the deadliest terror attack on the city since 9/11.
Officials have identified the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant who moved to the US legally from Uzbekistan in 2010. He was shot in the abdomen by a New York City police officer at the scene, and is currently in custody at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Police have interviewed him and are currently waiting for an update on his condition.
There is not yet any evidence that Saipov had direct connections to or support from terrorist groups, but investigators that the attack was premeditated and inspired by ISIS.
“It appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks — he did this in the name of ISIS,” John Miller, the New York deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.”
“It appears he will have some connectivity to individuals who were the subjects of investigations, though he himself was not," Miller said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday during an appearance on CNN’s New Day that investigators believe Saipov was a lone wolf who was “radicalized domestically” after coming to the United States.
“After he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics,” Cuomo said. “We have no evidence yet of associations or continuing plot or associated plots, and our only evidence to date is that this was an isolated incident that he himself performed.”
According to officials, Saipov left a note in the truck pledging allegiance to ISIS, which said in Arabic, “The Islamic State will endure forever.”
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that he has ordered the Department of Homeland of Security to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.”
“Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” he continued.
And on Wednesday, he blamed the attack on immigration policies promoted by Democrats that he thought were too generous.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” he tweeted.
What we know
- Six people died at the scene, while two others died at a nearby hospital. Five of them were friends from Argentina celebrating a graduation anniversary. An unnamed Belgian woman is also among the dead. Two others remain unidentified.
- At around 3:05 pm Tuesday, the suspect drove a pickup truck southbound down the bike path at high speed along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, police officials say.
- The truck driver started his rampage near Houston Street, tearing down approximately 20 city blocks on a bike path along the Hudson River popular with cyclists and runners.
- The truck came to a stop after it collided with a school bus near Stuyvesant High School, near Chambers Street, officials say. After the crash, the suspect got out of the truck brandishing a paintball and pellet gun.
- At least four passengers — two adults and two children — were on the school bus when the pickup driver slammed into it. The children are among the injured.
Paramedics removing victims from mangled school bus outside Stuyvesant High School pic.twitter.com/CFnpaC7ujx— Myles N. Miller (@MylesMill) October 31, 2017
- A witness recorded a cellphone video of what appears to be the driver after he jumped out of truck and before he was taken down by police. The grainy footage shows the alleged suspect weaving between taxicabs near the crime scene:
Witness Tahwid Kabir sent NY1 video of a man running wildly at scene of Lower Manhattan incident. An update from officials coming shortly. pic.twitter.com/fbQ8rugNvR— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) October 31, 2017
- The suspect yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” after he emerged from truck, according to reports multiple eyewitnesses, including law enforcement officials.
- De Blasio called New Yorkers “resilient” and condemned the attack as “cowardly” in a tweet on Tuesday.
- On Twitter on Tuesday Trump called the attacker “a very sick and deranged person,” and said “we must not allow ISIS to return.” He later offered his condolences to “the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack.”
- The White House released an official statement from the president Tuesday evening. “My administration will provide its full support to the New York City Police Department, including through a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the statement read.
President Trump issues statement on New York terror attack... pic.twitter.com/aymyoZEm6m— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) October 31, 2017
- This appears to be the deadliest attack in New York City since the 9/11 attacks. Last September, Ahmad Khan Rahimi set off shrapnel-packed explosives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring 30. He was convicted earlier this month of all charges, including for the use of a weapon of mass destruction, and faces life in prison.