NYC truck-attack suspect ‘requested to display’ ISIS flag in hospital room


Posted on: November 2nd, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The man accused of ramming a truck into people on a New York City bike path Tuesday “requested to display” the black-and-white flag of ISIS in his hospital room after allegedly revealing to authorities he had planned to strike more people on a bridge had he not crashed into a school bus, according to a federal criminal complaint.

The suspect, identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was allegedly “inspired” to commit the attack by ISIS videos he had watched on his cellphone and “wanted to kill as many people as he could,” the complaint states.

He allegedly told authorities during questioning that “he felt good about what he had done,” according to the complaint filed Wednesday by prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“During the interview with law enforcement, Saipov requested to display ISIS’s flag in his hospital room and stated that he felt good about what he had done,” the complaint states.

Saipov allegedly rented the truck from a Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey, Tuesday around 2 p.m. ET. He exited the bridge at 2:43 p.m. and drove southbound on the West Side Highway in New York City, according to license plate readers on the George Washington Bridge.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Saipov allegedly began plowing into cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path in lower Manhattan near West Houston Street and the West Side Highway. The suspect then drove south for about a mile, leaving behind strewn bodies and crumpled bicycles, police said.

The suspect crashed into a school bus near Chambers Street, just across from Stuyvesant High School. He emerged from the car with a paintball gun and a pellet gun, allegedly shouting “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase that translates to “God is Greatest,” before being shot in the abdomen by NYPD officer Ryan Nash, authorities said.

Saipov allegedly rented the truck from a Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey, Tuesday around 2 p.m. ET. He exited the bridge at 2:43 p.m. and drove southbound on the West Side Highway in New York City, according to license plate readers on the George Washington Bridge.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Saipov allegedly began plowing into cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path in lower Manhattan near West Houston Street and the West Side Highway. The suspect then drove south for about a mile, leaving behind strewn bodies and crumpled bicycles, police said.

The suspect crashed into a school bus near Chambers Street, just across from Stuyvesant High School. He emerged from the car with a paintball gun and a pellet gun, allegedly shouting “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase that translates to “God is Greatest,” before being shot in the abdomen by NYPD officer Ryan Nash, authorities said.

Saipov was transported to a hospital for treatment and is expected to survive. Officials say he acted alone.

At least eight people were killed in the incident, which is being investigated as a possible terror attack, and another 12 were injured.

Two cellphones, a stun gun, a document with text in Arabic and English and a black bag containing three knives were recovered from the truck. Saipov allegedly admitted to writing the document and told authorities the cellphones belonged to him, according to the criminal complaint.

One of the cellphones contains 90 videos, most of which appear to be “ISIS-related propaganda,” including one with instructions on how to make an improvised explosive device, the complaint states.

Saipov was wheeled into court for his initial appearance before a judge Wednesday night. He was charged with providing support to ISIS and violence and destruction of motor vehicles, making him eligible for the death penalty. A plea was not entered.

Saipov has a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 15 at 10 a.m. ET.

“He did this in the name of ISIS, and along with the other items recovered at the scene was some notes that further indicate that,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said Wednesday morning. “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.”

Saipov was born in Uzbekistan. He entered the United States through New York’s John F. Kennedy International 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.

During an interview with law enforcement while in custody, Saipov allegedly revealed that he began planning an attack in the United States about a year ago. He allegedly decided to use a truck “to inflict maximum damage against civilians” and rented one prior to Tuesday’s attack to “practice making turns” with the vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.

“Saipov planned to use the truck to strike pedestrians in the vicinity of the West Side Highway and then proceed to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians. Saipov wanted to kill as many people as he could,” the complaint states. “Saipov wanted to display ISIS flags in the front and back of the truck during the attack, but decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself.”

Saipov allegedly chose to carry out the attack on Halloween “because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” the complaint states.

He was allegedly motivated to commit the attack after watching a video in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “questioned what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq,” according to the complaint.

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