A man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down passerby and cyclists on a bike way alongside the Hudson River in New York City on Tuesday, killing 8 people and injuring about a dozen in what government said was an act of terrorism.
The 29-year-old suspect was shot in the midsection by police and arrested after he smashed the truck into a school bus and fled his vehicle, government said. A US law prosecution source told Reuters the suspect is an Uzbekistan-born immigrant.
CNN and The New York Times, each citing law prosecution sources, reported that detective found a note left by the suspect allegation he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State militant group.
5 of the dead were Argentine citizens, visiting New York as component of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, the Argentina foreign ministry said. A sixth member of the group was among those hospitalized after the attack, the ministry said in a comment.
The scene marked the biggest loss of life from a suspected terrorist attack in New York since suicide hijackers smashed jetliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, killing more than 2,600 people.
Tuesday’s offensive, on the far west side of lower Manhattan a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, was similar of several cruel vehicle attacks in Europe during the past 15 months.
“This was an act of terror, and a principally cowardly act of terror, aimed at virtuous civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.
A representative of the US Department of Homeland Security similarly called the circumstance a “possible act of terrorism.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the suspect came to have acted alone.
“There’s no victim to recommend a wider plot or a wider plan. These are the actions of one personal meant to cause pain and damage and possibly death,” Cuomo told the same news conference.
Asked later in a CNN interview whether the suspect had been known to government before the attack, Cuomo replied: “It’s too early to provide you an exact answer.”
Joint task force
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill rejected to publicly identify the driver. However, a source usual with the investigation told Reuters the driver’s name was Sayfullo Saipov.
CNN and NBC News reported that he entered the United States in 2010.
Multiple media channels, including CNN, indicated police officials as saying that the suspect roared”Allah hu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is greatest” – when he jumped out of his truck.
O’Neill would only say when asked at the news conference that an undetermined comment by the suspect when he exited his truck, and the general circumstances of the offensive, led investigators to label the scene a “terrorist event.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation involved the New York City Police Department and other agencies in a Joint Terrorism Task Force to strategy a probe of the attack, the FBI said in a statement.
ABC News reported that Saipov lived in Tampa, Florida. A check of court records similar to a traffic citation that Saipov received in eastern Pennsylvania in 2015 displayed he listed addresses then in Paterson, New Jersey, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The suspect drove onto the bike path in lower Manhattan at 3:05pm (1905 GMT) and sped south for about 20 city blocks, running down pedestrians and bicyclists along the way before hitting into the side of the school bus. Two children and two adults were injured in those accidents, O’Neill said.
The man then mounted out of this truck with what came to be a handgun. Police later recovered a paint-ball gun and a pellet gun from the scene, government said.
O’Neill said the pickup truck driven by the suspect had been rented from the Home Depot hardware chain, but rejected to say where it was rented.
Mangled and flattened bicycles cluttered the sunlit bike path, which runs parallel to the West Side Highway along the Hudson River, after the attack.
Of the 8 people killed, six were clear-out dead at the scene and two more were clear-out dead at a nearby hospital, O’Neill said.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said 11 residues with serious but non-life-threatening injuries were taken to hospitals.
Despite the attack, thousands of covered Halloween revelers turned out hours later for New York City’s main Halloween parade, which went on as scheduled Tuesday night with a intense police presence just a few blocks from the scene of the crime.
US President Donald Trump was briefed on the scene, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Trump, who has pressed for a ban on travelers entering the United States from some essentially Muslim nations, said on Twitter he had ordered Homeland Security officials to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”
The president later said in an official White House statement: “Our thinking and prayers are with the evidence of today’s terrorist attack in New York City and their families.” He also paid appreciation to the “first responders who stopped the suspect and rendered urgent aid to the evidences.”
Similar attacks in Europe last year killed scores of people.
On July 14, 2016, a suspect drove a big truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds more in an attack for which Islamic State declared responsibility.
Five months later a Tunisian asylum seeker, who had promised allegiance to Islamic State, plowed a truck into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.
A driver crammed his van into crowds in the heart of Barcelona on Aug. 17 this year, killing 13 people, in an attack governments said was carried out by suspected Islamist militants.
The 5 Argentine citizens killed in Tuesday’s attack were identified by their home government as Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruchi, all from the city of Rosario. Their ages were not provided.