NEW YORK (CBS/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.”
It happened around 3:30 p.m. when the driver barreled along a bike path in the TriBeCa section of New York City 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 driver, who is now being identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov of Tampa, Florida, was later shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out 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. Saipov underwent surgery and was in critical condition but was expected to survive.
A federal law enforcement source tells CBS News that a note that referenced ISIS was found in or near the truck used in NYC terror attack.
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“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” said Chen Yi, an Uber driver.
On Tuesday night, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said five of the nation’s citizens were among the eight people killed in the truck attack.
And the deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister of Belgium says in a tweet one of the dead was Belgian.
“This was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack, adding that there is no evidence that the incident was part of a wider plot.
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“At this point, there’s no evidence to suggest a wider plot, or a wider scheme,” said Cuomo.
Video from the scene shows the suspect running through the road.
“A vehicle drove straight down a bicycle path heading south in Manhattan just mowing everything down,” witness Greg Ahl told 1010 WINS in New York. “It looks like a vehicle drove down the bicycle path and ran everything over.”
Ahl continued, “I noticed along the bike path a bunch of wrecked bicycles and as I drove it was just more and more completely and totally wrecked bicycles and people mulling around to the side. I must’ve seen 30 or 40 bicycles like that.”
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 Cleveland.
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.
CBS3 has learned that Saipov received several traffic citations in Pike and Cumberland counties in 2012 and 2015. One ticket was for operating unsafe equipment.
The family friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, told The Cincinnati Enquirer Saipov was “really calm” and worked hard.
“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.”
Uber has confirmed that Saipov was one of its drivers.
The ride-hailing service released a statement Tuesday night saying Saipov passed a background check to become an Uber driver. Saipov has now been banned from the Uber app.
The company says it has reached out to law enforcement to provide its full assistance and is “aggressively and quickly reviewing” the suspect’s history with Uber.
Uber says it is “horrified by this senseless act of violence.”
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.
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