A rental pickup truck drove through pedestrians on a busy bike path in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday, October 31 in what officials are calling a terrorist attack that killed eight and injured 12.
The chaos came to an end when the driver, a man who police identified to be Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, 29, crashed into a school bus, exited the vehicle, and proceeded to run down the road with a paintball and a pellet gun until he was shot down by police. He purportedly yelled “God is great” in Arabic as he ran.
Authorities recovered a note from the scene proclaiming that the attack was perpetrated in the name of ISIS.
Amongst the dead are five Argentinian tourists who had been visiting for their 30-year high school reunion. Argentina’s foreign ministry named them as Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. A sixth, Martín Ludovico Marro, was also injured and hospitalized but he was released on Wednesday. Others killed in the attack include Belgian mother of two, Ann-Laure Decadt, and Americans Nicholas Cleves and Darren Drake.
Witnesses say that onlookers screamed and dispersed as the truck rammed through those on the bike path. It then redirected toward Chamber Street where it hit a school bus wounding four inside, authorities say.
Following the incident, news footage shows crowds of people that gathered behind police lines where the mangled white rental truck and damaged bus were visible. Multiple law-enforcement vehicles and ambulances were present with paramedics tending to the wounded in the background. Many captured the aftermath on cell-phone cameras.
Suspect Sayfullo Saipov moved from Uzbekistan to the United States in 2010, living with his wife in Tampa, Florida, and more recently Paterson, New Jersey. He held a green card allowing for permanent, legal residence in the country. For the past six months, Saipov worked as an Uber driver but he has since been removed from the app, the company says.
Saipov is now out of surgery and is expected to be questioned by officers in the coming weeks.
President Donald Trump reacted to the attack on Twitter.
“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.!”
He later elaborated, “My thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!”
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also commented calling the attack “a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”
Automobiles have been used in a slew of terrorist attacks in recent years including widely publicized incidents in London, Berlin and Nice.
For senior Courtney Ohlmann, this attack hit close to home. She commented on the wide variety of innocent people present for the attack.
“This happened right on my friend Bella’s street. We have walked there together, we have taken her dogs there, and we have actively been on that bike pathway where eight people were mowed down. That bike path was filled with children from local elementary schools, kids out trick or treating and people minding their own business and enjoying the last few days of fall weather,” she said.
Ohlmann also criticized Trump’s reaction to the tragedy.
“And what’s worse than dead bodies? What could be worse? What’s worse is that we now have a president who has yet to formally address these concerns, which in reality, makes sense. Eight people died in this attack, but eight people isn’t a lot anymore. We have a shooting every single week, with upwards of 20 victims becoming the norm. There are dead bodies everywhere, and the most important issue our country seems to face is not gun control or terrorist threats, but ‘extreme vetting’ and immigration laws. So what’s worse than eight dead bodies? Eight dead bodies in a country where nobody is doing anything to stop the body count,” Ohlmann said.
Senior Liz Arenare also felt that the frequency of the attacks is difficult to process.
“It’s tragic every time an attack like this happens. It’s hard to know how to react at this point, because they’re happening so frequently that you need to keep some degree of distance, and yet we need to keep talking about these issues and expressing our anger or sadness so we can work together toward change,” she said.
Contact Patrick Kirkwood at [email protected]