A pick-up truck has run over people in Lower Manhattan, killing at least eight people and injuring nearly a dozen others in an apparent act of terror, officials and witnesses say. The suspect was shot by police and taken into custody.
The incident happened at about 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday when a vehicle entered a pedestrian and bike path along the West Side Highway, a few blocks north of Chambers Street. The area is near Stuyvesant High School and just a few blocks from the World Trade Center.
“A male driving a rented Home Depot pick-up truck entered the West Side Highway bicycle path at Houston Street,” New York Police Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “[He] began driving southbound, striking a number of pedestrians and bicyclists along the route.”
At Chambers Street, the pick-up truck crashed into a school bus, injuring two adults and two children. After the collision, the suspect exited the vehicle while carrying what initially appeared to be two handguns, although they were later determined to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
“A uniformed police officer assigned to the 1st Precinct confronted the suspect and shot him in the abdomen. The subject was wounded and transported to a local hospital,” Commissioner Nigro said at a press conference. The suspect’s injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Police confirmed that 8 people were killed in what appeared to be an act of terrorism, with witnesses saying that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “Allah is the greatest.” At least 11 people were rushed to area hospitals with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“It’s a very painful day in our city. A horrible tragedy on the West Side,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Let me be clear that based on the information we have at this moment, 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,” the mayor said.
There was no indication of a “wider plot,” but authorities said security was being increased for Halloween events across the city as a precaution. “I want to ask all New Yorkers to be vigilant,” de Blasio said.
Law enforcement sources identified the suspect in Tuesday’s attack as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. There were conflicting reports about whether the man lived in Florida or New Jersey, but he is believed to have come to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010.
President Donald Trump, through messages on his Twitter account, expressed his condolences for the victims of the attack.
“Looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely,” Trump wrote. “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”
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