In New York City, eight people were killed and 11 injured when a man intentionally drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck 12 blocks down a bike path along Manhattan’s Hudson River on Halloween. The attacker, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov drove the truck down the bicycle lane, killing multiple people before crashing into a school bus. He then reportedly jumped out of the car, waving a pellet gun and a paintball gun. Police say he yelled “Allahu Akbar” which means “God is Great” in Arabic before being shot in the stomach by police. He survived the shooting and is in custody.
Authorities say they uncovered handwritten notes near the truck that suggest Saipov had declared allegiance to ISIS and that he had planned the attack for weeks. There is not yet any evidence that Saipov had direct connections to or support from terrorist groups. Prosecutors say he waived his Miranda rights and confessed during a hospital interview to having carried out the attack after being inspired by ISIS videos he watched on his cellphone. During the interview, he requested to display the black flag of ISIS in his room at Bellevue Hospital, where he is recovering from the gunshot wound in the abdomen.
Saipov made a court appearance shackled and in a wheelchair where did not ask to be released on bail. A criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors accuses Sayfullo Saipov of carrying out the truck attack that killed 8 and injured 12 others. In the document, he is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. A second count charges him with violence and destruction of a truck that was used in interstate and foreign commerce. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charges.
Saipov is originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and immigrated to the United States in March 2010 and has lived in Florida, Ohio and is believed to have been most recently living in Patterson, New Jersey with his wife and three children. He is a green card holder with a “diversity immigrant visa,” meaning he arrived in the country through a lottery program. Authorities say he worked as a commercial truck driver in the US but had been struggling to find work. They believe that he was radicalized by information he saw on the internet about a year after arriving in the US.
Saipov worked as an Uber driver for more than six months and recorded more than 1,400 trips for the service, an Uber spokesperson said. Saipov was subsequently banned from the app but Uber did not immediately specify why Saipov was banned from the service. The company is now aggressively reviewing Saipov’s Uber history, but had not found any concerning safety reports, so far. Uber says it is cooperating with the FBI as the investigation continues. A media outlet reported that Saipov has received four previous traffic violations.
The eight people killed in the attack were two young Americans, a Belgian mother and five Argentine tourists visiting New York City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. Police identified the victims as Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, NJ; Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York, NY; Ann-Laure Decadt, 31, of Belgium; Hernan Diego Mendoza-Espino, 47, of Argentina; Alejandro Damian Pagrucco, 47, of Argentina; Herman Ferruchi, 47, of Argentina; Diego Enrique Angelini, 47, of Argentina and Ariel Erlis, 48, of Argentina.