NEW YORK (AP)— A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”
The driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” authorities said. The man underwent was expected to survive.
Officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov and said he is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010.
The driver barreled along the bike path in a rented Home Depot truck for about 14 blocks before slamming into a small school bus. The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the neighborhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets.
Police closed off streets across the western edge of lower Manhattan along the Hudson River, and officers rushed into the neighborhood.
“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.
City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said a statement the driver made as he got out of the truck and the method of attack led police to conclude it was a terrorist act.
While police did not specifically blame the Islamic State for the New York bloodshed, Trump railed against the extremist group, tweeting, “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”
Police said Saipov rented the truck at about 2 p.m. in New Jersey, entering the bike path aThe truck then turned at Chambers Street, hitting the school bus and injuring two adults and two children.