NYC terror suspect seemed ‘proud’ of attack, official says
Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) — Eight people were killed and at least a dozen injured on Tuesday when a motorist intentionally drove a truck onto a bike path in lower Manhattan in what authorities are calling a suspected terror attack.
The rampage came to an end when the man crashed into a school bus and got out of the truck, brandishing a paintball gun and a pellet gun, according to police. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, was shot in the abdomen by a police officer and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
Investigators have since been able to talk to Saipov, who is expected to survive. It’s unclear what, if anything, investigators learned from him, though one official told ABC News the suspect seemed “proud” of the attack.
Investigators spent the overnight hours collecting video and still images from traffic and surveillance cameras along the route of the attack, sources said. Those images show that Saipov drove carefully and at moderate speed until he entered the jogging path and accelerated; investigators believe that suggests the suspect knew where he wanted to begin the attack. Authorities are pouring through toll records and other digital records to see if Saipov had scoped out the location beforehand, sources said.
Here’s what we know about the attack, the victims and the suspect:
According to police, a driver in a rented Home Depot pickup truck started mowing down cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path near West Houston Street on the West Side Highway around 3:05 p.m. The suspect drove south for about a mile, leaving strewn bodies and mangled bicycles in his wake.
The suspect eventually crashed into a school bus near Chambers Street, just across from Stuyvesant High School.
After colliding with the bus, he emerged from the car with a paintball gun and a pellet gun, allegedly shouting “Allahu Akbar,” before being shot in the abdomen by uninformed NYPD police officer Ryan Nash. The suspect was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
According to authorities, six victims were pronounced dead at the scene and two more died in the hospital. Thirteen people, including two students and two staff members on the school bus, were taken to the hospital for injuries.
Five of the people killed have been identified as natives of Argentina. According to the country’s consulate, they were visiting New York City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. The five Argentinians killed were identified as Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruchi, the consulate said. Another Argentinian, Martin Ludovico Marro, was injured in the attack.
A Belgian citizen was also killed in the attack, the deputy prime minister of Belgium tweeted.
Police identified the driver of the vehicle as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who was born in Uzbekistan and moved to the United States in 2010.
A handwritten note in Arabic recovered near the truck indicated an ISIS allegiance, law enforcement sources said. Sources said the suspect has no immediate direct ties to ISIS.
There are no other suspects in the Tuesday attack, and Saipov is believed to have worked alone, law enforcement sources said.
Saipov has come up in prior counterterror investigations as a “possible associate” of a suspect, but he was not the focus and there was never any proof to open a case file on him so he was not under surveillance, sources said.
Saipov entered the U.S. through New York’s JFK Airport in 2010, according to law enforcement sources. He had a green card that allowed him permanent legal residence in the country, sources said.
The green card came via a government program called the Diversity Visa Lottery, which hands out about 55,000 visas per year.
After entering the country, Saipov first lived in Ohio before moving to Tampa, Florida. He then moved to Paterson, New Jersey, where he has lived with his wife and three children for several years, according to law enforcement sources. He rented the vehicle used in the attack at a nearby Home Depot.
Saipov held business licenses for two Ohio-based trucking companies. He also worked as an Uber driver; the company confirmed that Saipov was a driver who passed a background check and recorded over 1,400 trips in six months. The company is assisting law enforcement with the investigation.
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