“This was an act of terror,” Mayor de Blasio declared at an evening press conference. “A particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at innocent people going about their lives.”
Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Muslim immigrant from Uzbekistan, was shot by a cop after getting out of his car at Chambers and West streets with two realistic-looking guns while screaming “Allahu Akbar” — Arabic for God is good, police sources said.
“He was running around Chambers and somebody started to chase him,” said a 14-year-old student at the nearby Stuyvesant HS, which was just letting out for the day. “Everybody starts running.”
Saipov’s bloody, 17-block trail of terror began at 3:05 p.m., when he turned onto the bike path at West Houston Street in a Home Depot flatbed pickup truck he’d rented in Passaic, NJ, police sources said. The maniac, who was carrying a Florida ID, rammed his car into nearly two dozen innocent cyclists and pedestrians as he sped south on the typically serene path along the Hudson River.
“The Home Depot truck starting running people over,” said witness Nelson Arroyo, 58. “I heard a boom boom, a crushing noise from the bikes. People were sitting down crying. I saw two areas of blood.”
Saipov collided with a school bus at Chambers Street, injuring two adults and two children inside. He then got out with the pellet and paintball guns — sending panicked bystanders fleeing through the streets, sources said.
Tom Gay said he was walking near West Street and Warren Street when a woman came barreling around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!” The school photographer spotted Saipov, who he described as a slender man in a blue track suit, running his way. The man giving chase was a cop, who fired at least five shots. Saipov fell to the ground, still raising his weapon in the air until the officer kicked it out of his hand.
“The uniformed police officer assigned to the 1st Precinct, confronted the subject and shot him in the abdomen,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, adding that he “was wounded and transported to a local hospital.” Meanwhile, bodies covered in white sheets were left scattered on the path amid the crumpled remains of their rental bicycles, which included Citibikes.
The driver who plowed into a group of people on Tuesday, killing 8, left behind handwritten notes pledging loyalty to ISIS along with an image of an ISIS flag inside his vehicle. Sayfullo Saipov, 29, had the notes written in Arabic inside his Home Depot rental truck along with a picture of the ISIS flag, according to law enforcement sources.
The handwritten notes indicated that he had pledged allegiance to the terror group, the sources said. Investigators discovered the materials inside his truck after the rampage in lower Manhattan.
ISIS supporters have been praising the deadly truck rampage in downtown Manhattan following reports that the driver was a suspected terrorist who shouted “Allahu Akbar” just moments after getting out of his vehicle.
Pro-Islamic State channels have posted commemorative posters online — which feature photographs that were taken at the scene and edited images of the Statue of Liberty being blown up.
Rukmini Callimachi, a correspondent for The New York Times that has covered the terror group since 2014, has been sharing the disturbing propaganda on her Twitter page in the wake of Tuesday’s incident.
She has also tweeted out texts that were reportedly sent through the Telegram messenger service between some of the sympathizers, in which they joke about the low death toll. “Sounds like one of our brothers,” said one person named Abdullah Sami.
“Trick-or-treat New York City. Alhamdulillah Happy Hauntings,” they added, posting laughing emojis, as well. “If it was my truck it would have been on a much bigger Street,” replied another user, identified as Abdullah Sami.
|Muslim terrorist from Uzbekistan.|
Callimachi also noted how a French pro-ISIS group known as the an-Nur Centre Mediative posted a “specific threat against Halloween” on Monday, though it’s unclear if the intended target was in France or NYC. A commemorative poster, which was circulating online, showed the Eiffel Tower, a machete and blood splashed on the front.
“Typically the threats are more amorphous – “Attack London! Attack Paris!” I rarely see a date on ISIS threats (though it’s not 1st time),” Callimachi said. “The threat was distributed in at least 4 languages. I don’t know what to make of it. We often see threats. Is the date here meaningful?”