Deadly Halloween attack in New York
branded 'terrorism' by authorities
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[November 01, 2017]
By Gina Cherelus and Daniel Trotta
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Uzbek immigrant
accused of killing eight people in New York City by driving a rental
truck down a riverfront bike path on Tuesday appeared to have acted
alone, but the Halloween Day attack had all the hallmarks of terrorism,
The suspect, who was shot by police and arrested moments after Tuesday's
rampage on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, left a note saying he
carried out the attack in the name of the militant Islamic State group,
the New York Times and CNN said.
The death toll paled in comparison to dozens killed in similar assaults
last year in France and Germany. However, it was still the bloodiest
single attack on New Yorkers since Sept. 11, 2001, when suicide
hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing
more than 2,600 people.
The Twin Towers site was just a few blocks from the scene of the carnage
left when the suspect swerved the pickup onto a path filled with
pedestrians and bicyclists on a sunny, crisp autumn afternoon.
Driving at speeds estimated at more than 60 mph (100 km/h), the vehicle
mowed down everyone in its path before slamming into the side of a
The man then climbed out of the vehicle brandishing what appeared to be
a pair of handguns before he was confronted by a city police officer,
who shot him in the abdomen. Police said they recovered a paint-ball gun
and a pellet gun from the scene.
The attack was over in a matter of seconds. Video footage taken by a
bystander that circulated online showed crumpled bicycles scattered long
the path, and at least two people lying on the ground.
In addition to the eight fatalities, at least 11 people were
hospitalized for injuries described by fire officials as serious but not
life-threatening. That excluded the suspect, who underwent surgery for
Police declined to publicly identify the man, but a source familiar with
the investigation said his name was Sayfullo Saipov, 29. He reportedly
lived in Paterson, New Jersey, a one-time industrial hub about 25 miles
(40 km) northwest of lower Manhattan.
He had rented the pick-up from a Home Depot hardware store which,
according to media accounts, was located in Passaic, just south of
(To view a graphic on the location of the New York truck attack, click
FOREIGN CITIZENS AMONG DEAD
Six victims were pronounced dead at the scene and two more at a nearby
hospital, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.
Five of the dead were Argentine citizens, visiting New York as part of a
group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school
graduation, the Argentina Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Belgium's foreign minister said a Belgian citizen was also among those
A U.S. law enforcement official described the suspect as a U.S.
immigrant born in Uzbekistan, a landlocked, predominantly Muslim country
in central Asia that was once part of the former Soviet Union. CNN and
NBC News reported that he entered the United States in 2010.
Authorities late on Tuesday surrounded a house in Paterson where,
according to the New York Times, Saipov was believed to have lived.
Paterson, known for its large immigrant population, is home to about
150,000 people, including 25,000 to 30,000 Muslims.
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Police investigate a vehicle on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.
ABC News reported that Saipov had lived in Tampa, Florida. A check
of court records related to a traffic citation that Saipov received
in eastern Pennsylvania in 2015 showed he listed addresses then in
Paterson and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Although authorities from the mayor's office to the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security all swiftly branded the attack an act of
terrorism, Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed that the suspect was
believed 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 told a news conference two hours after
Asked later in a CNN interview whether the suspect had been known to
authorities before the attack, Cuomo replied: "It's too early to
give you a definitive answer."
The New York Times said investigators quickly recognized that Saipov
had come to the attention of law enforcement in the past.
It cited three officials as saying federal authorities knew of
Saipov from an unrelated probe, although it was unclear whether that
was because he had ties to someone who was under scrutiny or because
he was the target of an investigation.
CNN and other media outlets, citing police officials, reported that
the suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is greatest" -
when he jumped out of his truck.
O'Neill said only that an unspecified comment by the suspect when he
exited his truck, and the general circumstances of the assault, led
investigators to label the incident a "terrorist event."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the New York City Police
Department and other agencies in a Joint Terrorism Task Force to
conduct a probe of the attack, the FBI said in a statement.
Despite the attack, thousands of costumed Halloween revelers turned
out hours later for New York City's main Halloween parade, which
went on as scheduled on Tuesday night with a heightened police
presence just a few blocks away.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has pressed for a ban on travelers
entering the United States from some predominantly Muslim countries,
said on Twitter that he had ordered Homeland Security officials to
"step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically
correct is fine, but not for this!"
(Reporting by Dan Trotta and Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional
reporting by Jonathan Allen and Anna Driver in New York, Dan
Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by
Steve Gorman; Editing by Leslie Adler and Paul Tait)
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