Eight people were killed and at least 11 others injured after a vehicular strike terror attack in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. A male suspect, later identified as Uzbekistan native Sayfullo Saipov, was shot by police and taken into custody at Bellevue Hospital on the east side.
Investigators called the violent incident a deliberate act of terror — the deadliest in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
“We know this action was intended to break our spirit but we also know New Yorkers are strong,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference hours after the attack. “We’ll respond as we always do. We will be undeterred.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf attack.” No other suspects were being sought as of Wednesday morning.
Investigators said Saipov, 29, drove a white Home Depot pickup truck onto a West Side bike path, leaving a path of injured people in its wake. He also slammed into a school bus that contained three children. Police said Saipov emerged from the gnarled truck and brandished two fake guns. He reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is greatest.”
Citing unnamed sources, NBC reported that the suspect had a handwritten note in his truck pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Due to police activity, avoid the area of Chambers Street/West St.
One person is in custody. Expect many emergency personnel in the area. pic.twitter.com/rSECr0LRCN
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 31, 2017
Witnesses documented the incident on social media as it unfolded just after 3 p.m. Of the 8 people killed, 5 were men visiting from Argentina; celebrating a high school reunion. Argentina’s foreign affairs minister identified the men as Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruch. Belgium’s foreign affairs ministry said one of the victims, a woman, was a Belgian national.
A video posted on Twitter showed bodies strewn in the bike path. Warning: Graphic content.
— Ryan Saavedra ?? (@RealSaavedra) October 31, 2017
A witness told ABC 7 that there were bodies strewn outside Stuyvesant High School. Schools in the area were in lockdown. Another witness shared a video that shows emergency personnel removing victims from a school bus. Officials later told media that there were children on the bus at the time of the crash.
Paramedics removing victims from mangled school bus outside Stuyvesant High School pic.twitter.com/CFnpaC7ujx
— Myles N. Miller (@MylesMill) October 31, 2017
The 11 people who were hurt suffered non-life threatening injuries and were expected to survive. A man who claims to have known Saipov years ago in Florida told NBC, “he is no terrorist.” “He was a very happy guy,” said Kobiljon Matkarov. “He liked the U.S.”
The crime scene was active as of 5 p.m. and extended from West Houston down to Chambers Street, according to scanner chatter.
Police incident on west side of chambers street after series of rattling POPS. Hope all are safe. pic.twitter.com/C0mZYU7l1D
— bill tsapalas (@btsapalas) October 31, 2017
FDR Drive is temporarily closed in both directions south of 34th Street in Manhattan. West Street in closed southbound at 23rd Street in Manhattan. Police said people should avoid the area of West Street (Barclay St. to a Christopher St.) due to the investigation.
Stay with Metro as this story develops.