New York Terror Attack – October 31, 2017
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Eight people were killed and more than a dozen were injured after a truck plowed into several people on a bike path in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.
A suspect was shot by police and is in custody in what officials called an act of terrorism.
“This was an act of terror,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, “a particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea of what was about to hit them.”
The suspect was identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. He is believed to be from Uzbekistan and had a Florida driver’s license.
The incident began at 3:05 p.m. when a rented Home Depot truck entered the bike path at Houston Street along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, police said.
The truck rammed several people on the path from behind and ultimately crashed into a school bus at Chambers Street.
Two adults and two children – students – were on board the school bus and were injured, one student critically.
A man came out of the truck after striking the school bus wielding what appeared to be two weapons. The weapons turned out to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun, O’Neill said.
Witnesses told the NYPD the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic when he jumped out of the truck. Meanwhile, a federal law enforcement source told CBS News a note was found in the suspect’s truck that made reference to ISIS.
“He was pointing, like, randomly, but he wasn’t shooting at the time that I saw him,” said witness Tawhid Kapir. “He’s just running in the circle, like in the middle of the road, with the gun.”
First Precinct Officer Ryan Nash confronted Saipov and shot him when he refused to drop his weapons.
Saipov was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and was out of surgery late Tuesday night.
Six of the victims died at the scene, officials said.
More than a dozen people were injured in the incident, officials said. Ten patients were taken to New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. Of those 10, three were in critical. Two patients taken there passed away, the hospital said.
There was no active threat following the attack, officials said. Officials said the attack appeared to be a “lone wolf” incident and there was no immediate evidence of a wider plot.
Sources say Saipov left a note in his rental truck pledging allegiance to ISIS which has called on Jihadis to carry out attacks with trucks.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill called it a “tragedy of tremendous magnitude.”
“The dead and injured were just going about their days, heading home from work or from school, or enjoying the afternoon sun on bicycles,” he added.
Among those killed were five people from Argentina, one person from Germany, and one from Belgium.
The Argentinians were identified as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. An additional Argentinian, Martín Ludovico Marro was recovering at Presbyterian Hospital.
“We know this action was intended to break our spirit. But we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient, and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us,” de Blasio said. “We will respond as we always do: We will be undeterred.”
“There will extensive addition deployments of NYPD officers this evening and throughout the days ahead,” de Blasio said.
The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade went on Tuesday night as usual, though participants said a heavily armed police was visible.
The crime scene was large — stretching up and down the west side of Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center — the investigation is being conducted jointly with the FBI, officials said.
“There will be a very, very thorough investigation,” de Blasio said. “People should go about their business knowing that the NYPD is out in force.”
“The new terrorist tactic, which they’ve called for publicly, are these lone wolves who commit an act of terror,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This is all very preliminary, it’s only been a couple of hours, but at this point there’s no evidence of a wider plot or a wider scheme but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror, and that was the purpose.”
Students at Stuyvesant High School and the Borough of Manhattan Community College were horrified as they looked out classroom windows and saw the attack unfold.
“To know that this can happen any time, any day, it’s really scary,” Shakeema Carter said.
Counter-terror teams with heavy weapons and tactical gear were deployed to Port Authority locations in New York and New Jersey after the incident, the Port Authority Police said.
“It is just out of vigilance, out of caution,” said Cuomo.
“The truth is New York is an international system of freedom and democracy. That’s what we are. And we are proud of it. That also makes us a target for those people who oppose those concepts,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to let them win. And if we change our lives and we contort ourselves to them then they win and we lose.”
Police swarmed the location and urged people to avoid the area.
The West Side Highway was closed in both directions from 34th Street to Chambers Street following the attack.
A rented Home Depot truck was used in the incident. As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the truck was rented at a Home Depot in Passaic. On Tuesday night, police were at the store and had surrounded a vehicle in the parking lot.
Saipov has addresses in Florida and in New Jersey — 168 Genessee St. in Paterson is believed to be where he lived, at least part time with his wife and two young children.