New York City police arrest the man who ploughed into dozens of pedestrians and cyclists, killing at least eight before threatening people with fake guns. (Photo via Instagram/)
NEW YORK CITY: A man in a rented truck drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial Tuesday, killing at least eight people and injuring others, police said. The driver was then shot by police after jumping out with what turned out to be two fake guns.
Two law enforcement officials said that after the attacker got out of the truck, he was heard yelling, “Allahu akbar”.
A police official said the attack was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
The attacker was taken into custody after he was shot in the stomach by a New York City policeman, and neutralised. His condition was not immediately disclosed.
The arrested suspect is Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, an ethnic Uzbek immigrant who entered the United States in 2010 and lived in Tampa, Florida.
New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio labelled the attack a “cowardly act of terror.”
President Donald Trump said in a tweet, “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.” He says law enforcement “is following” the attack closely and adds, “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”
In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!
— Donald J. Trump ()
New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo said the suspect appeared to have acted alone.
“There’s no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme. These are the actions of one individual meant to cause pain and harm and probably death,” Cuomo said at the news conference.
Police said the vehicle, a rented Home Depot truck, entered the bike path on West Street a few blocks from the World Trade Center memorial and struck at least 15 people, leaving mangled bicycles behind. At least two bodies could be seen lying on the path beneath tarpaulins.
The police said they were not looking for additional suspects.
The driver entered the bike path in lower Manhattan at 3.05pm (3.05am Wednesday, Thailand time). New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said that he was armed with a paint-ball gun and a pellet gun.
Two children and two adults were injured when the truck ploughed into the school bus, he said.
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial. (AP photo)
A man who was riding in an Uber along the West Side Highway near Chambers Street said he saw several bleeding people on the ground after the truck struck several people. Another witness said the truck had also collided with a small bus and one other vehicle.
O’Neill said the suspect was driving a rented pickup from the Home Depot hardware chain, but declined to say where the truck was rented.
After the attack, mangled and flattened bicycles littered the sunlit bike path, which runs parallel to the West Side Highway along the Hudson River.
Of the eight people killed, six were pronounced dead at the scene and two more were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, O’Neill said.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said 11 survivors with serious but non-life-threatening injuries were taken to hospitals.
Tom Gay, a school photographer, was on Warren Street and heard people saying there was an accident. He went down to West Street and a woman came around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”
ABC News aired this video of the event.
Eyewitness to NYC truck attack says alleged suspect “sprinted toward the group of kids” after crashing onto bike path and hitting school bus
— ABC News ()
Gay said he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running southbound on West Street holding a gun. He said there was a heavyset man pursuing him.
He said he heard five or six shots and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.
An injured victim is rushed to aid after a man in a car mowed down pedestrians and cyclists in New York City. (AP photo)
Uber driver Chen Yi said he saw a truck plough into people on a popular bike path adjacent to the West Side Highway. He said he then heard seven to eight shots and then police pointing a gun at a man kneeling on the pavement.
“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” Yi said.
His passenger, Dmitry Metlitsky, said he also saw police standing near a man who was on his knees with his hands up, and another man bleeding on the ground nearby. He said the truck had also collided with a small school bus and one other vehicle.
Despite the attack, municipal officials said New York City’s main Halloween parade would go on as scheduled Tuesday evening, just a few blocks from the scene of the carnage, with a heightened police presence.