Saturday, 4 December 2021

8 dead in New York City truck attack; mayor calls it act of terror

Manhattan Shooting

NEW YORK: Police and witnesses say a man deliberately drove a rented truck onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring at least 12 others, then emerged from the vehicle screaming and brandishing imitation firearms before being shot by police. The suspect was wounded and taken into custody.

“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said about the attack — the deadliest act of terror in New York City since 9/11. He called it “a very painful day in our city.”

“Today there was a loss of innocent life in lower Manhattan,” NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said at a Tuesday press conference.

Law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old truck driver who has lived in Tampa, Florida, and New Jersey. He came to the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan.

Sources tell CBS News’ senior investigative producer Pat Milton the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great” – when he exited the truck.

New York City truck attack 1

A federal law enforcement source said a note was found in the truck and that it made reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

US media confirms that Saipov was an Uber driver and has since been banned from the ride-hailing app. He had passed a background check.

Saipov doesn’t appear to have an exenstive criminal background. Both the FBI and the NYPD are “digging” into Saipov’s background, Pegues reports.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the attack appeared to be a “lone wolf” incident with no apparent link to a wider terrorist plot. Cuomo, O’Neill and de Blasio praised the work of an officer who they said stopped the assailant before more people were hurt.

The incident occurred at West Street and Chambers Street at 3:05 p.m.

The vehicle entered the pedestrian/bike path at Houston St., a few blocks north of Chambers Street on Manhattan’s west side. The truck drove down the bike path for about four blocks, striking cyclists and pedestrians before veering back into traffic lanes and striking a school bus and another vehicle.

Four people on board the school bus were injured, CBS New York reports. Officials said Tuesday they were two adults and two children.

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The suspect then emerged brandishing what police called “imitation firearms.” A pellet gun and a paintball gun were recovered at the scene, O’Neill said.

An officer shot him in the abdomen and he was transported to the hospital.

O’Neill said statements the suspect made and the nature of the attack led investigators to believe it was an act of terror. He did not specify what those statements were.

“A vehicle drove straight down a bicycle path heading south in Manhattan just mowing everything down,” witness Greg Ahl told CBS New York. “It looks like a vehicle drove down the bicycle path and ran everything over.”

An Associated Press photographer on the scene reported seeing at least two bodies lying motionless on the path beneath tarps.

Video from the scene showed several mangled bicycles along the bike path.

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