‘Cow­ardly act of ter­ror’: Truck driver kills 8 on bike path

Sun.Star Pampanga - - WORLD! -

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 surgery and was in crit­i­cal con­di­tion but was ex­pected to survi ve.

Of­fi­cials who weren’t 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 of­fi­cials said Saipov has a Florida driver’s li­cense and may have been stay­ing in New Jersey, and a fam­ily friend de­scribed roots he had in Ohio, where he lived years ago and was a com­mer­cial truck driver.

The ride-hail­ing ser­vice Uber con­firmed late Tues­day night that Saipov was one if its driv­ers. The com­pany said he passed a back­ground check and had been ac­tively driv­ing on the plat­form for more than six months. He has since been banned from the Uber app.

“We are hor­ri­fied by this sense­less act of vi­o­lence,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. “Our hearts are with the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies. We have reached out to law en­force­ment to pro­vide our assi st an ce.”

The driver in Tues­day’s at­tack bar­reled along the bike path in a rented Home De­pot truck for the equiv­a­lent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, be­fore slam­ming into a small yel­low 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.

“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of peo­ple on the ground,” said Chen Yi, an Uber dr i ver.

Eu­gene Duffy, a chef at a wa­ter­front res­tau­rant, said, “So many po­lice came, and they didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing. Peo­ple were scream­ing. Fe­males were scream­ing at the top of their lungs.”

Po­lice closed off streets across the west­ern edge of lower Man­hat­tan along the Hud­son River, and of­fi­cers rushed into the neigh­bor­hood just as peo­ple were pre­par­ing for Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the big an­nual pa­rade through Green­wich Vil­lage.

A po­lice bomb squad scoured the truck but found no ex­plo­sives.

“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 and other cities around the globe have been on high alert against at­tacks by ex­trem­ists in ve­hi­cles. The Is­lamic State group has been ex­hort­ing its fol­low­ers to mow down peo­ple, and Eng­land, France and Ger­many have seen deadly ve­hi­cle at­tacks in the past year or so.

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.

The city’s 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.

On Twit­ter, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called it “another at­tack by a very sick and de­ranged per­son” and de­clared, “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

While po­lice did not specif­i­cally blame the Is­lamic State group 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!”

Records show Saipov was a com­mer­cial truck driver who formed a pair of busi­nesses in Ohio af­ter mov­ing to the U.S. The first busi­ness, Sayf Mo­tors Inc., used the ad­dress of a fam­ily friend near Cincin­nati with whom Saipov had stayed for a cou­ple of weeks af­ter his ar­rival in the coun­try. The sec­ond, Bright Auto LLC, used an ad­dress near Cl evel and.

A truck­ing in­dus­try web­site listed Saipov at a Pater­son, New Jersey, ad­dress that au­thor­i­ties were search­ing Tues­day night. Court records re­lated to truck­ing-re­lated in­frac­tions list Saipov with ad­dresses in Pater­son and the Cleve­land sub­urbs.

The fam­ily friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dil­noza Ab­dusam­a­tova, told The Cincin­nati En­quirer Saipov was “re­ally calm”and worked har d.

“He al­ways used to work,” Ab­dusam­a­tova said. “He wouldn’t go to par­ties or any­thing. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work.”

Po­lice said Saipov rented the truck at about 2 p.m. in New Jersey, en­ter­ing the bike path about an hour later on West Street a few blocks from the new World Trade Cen­ter, the site of the dead­li­est ter­ror at­tack in U.S. his­tory. The truck then turned at Cham­bers Street, hit­ting the school bus and in­jur­ing two adults and two chil­dren.

A paint­ball gun and a pel­let gun were found at the scene, po­lice said. At least two cov­ered-over bod­ies could be seen ly­ing on the bike path, and the front end of the truck was smashed in, as was the side of the school bus.

Two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said a note was re­cov­ered in­side the truck. One of­fi­cial said the note was hand­writ­ten in a for­eign lan­guage, pos­si­bly Ara­bic.

Au­thor­i­ties in­ves­ti­gate the scene near a cov­ered body on a bike path af­ter a mo­torist drove onto the path near the World trade cen­ter memo­rial, strik­ing and killing sev­eral peo­ple in New York.

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