Officials have identified the man suspected of driving a truck down the West Side Highway bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, killing eight people and injuring at least 11. Sayfullo Saipov, 29, is accused of carrying out what Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed yesterday was a "cowardly act of terror", consistent with similar acts of violence in connection with the Islamic State abroad, though so far police have disclosed no direct link between Saipov and the jihadist militant group.
Five of the eight victims in yesterday's terror attack in Lower Manhattan were tourists from Argentina, in town to celebrate their 30th high school reunion. Argentine officials have identified the men as Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. Several others traveling with them were injured in the attack, but are expected to survive. The group is pictured below:
Éste es el grupo de rosarinos afectados en el atentando en NY. Promoción 87 del Politécnico. Al menos 1 muerto (Ariel Erlij) y 4 heridos. pic.twitter.com/LIhaVqFKJy
— Hernán Funes (@HernanFunes) November 1, 2017
"They were tourists," Mateo Estrémé, Consul General of Argentina to the United Nations, told the NY Post. "They were out cycling in downtown Manhattan. We are trying to figure out how to go on — especially the families…[They] are completely lost about, well, being very far from their relatives. They don’t know what to do."
According to Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders, a tourist from Belgium was also killed in the attack. Reynders did not name the victim, but said she was a 31-year-old woman from Flanders, and was struck while riding a bicycle. Three other Belgian tourists were injured, Reynders said.
Saipov's alleged rampage ended when he crashed into a school bus, injuring two staff members and two students, the Post reports. Police told the Daily News that at least one staffer and a student were released from Bellevue Hospital.
After crashing to a stop, Saipov was allegedly seen running in traffic on the West Side Highway, reportedly yelling "God is great" in Arabic before being shot by police and taken into custody. (During a press conference yesterday, Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill would only confirm that Saipov had made statements consistent with other terrorist attacks.) Police say Saipov was wielding a paintball gun and a pellet gun when he was shot.
Officials say Saipov immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, arriving first in Ohio before making his way to Fort Myers, Florida, and eventually to Paterson, New Jersey, where he worked as an Uber driver. The Times reports that federal authorities had Saipov on their radar, though it's unclear how or why—Saipov also had a greencard and passed Uber's background check.
Investigators say that though they found notes suggesting allegiance to the Islamic State near the rented truck Saipov used to mow down his victims, it appears Saipov was "inspired" by similar attacks, but was not in direct contact with ISIS. Saipov is currently in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital, but he is expected to survive. According to CBS News' sources, Saipov has told police he "is pleased with his actions and is unapologetic for the attack."
Police are continuing to investigate the attack, and announced several road closures today as a result:
WEST STREET CLOSURES:
Northbound from Battery Place to Canal Street
Southbound from 14th Street to Battery Place
HUGH L. CAREY TUNNEL:
Manhattan-bound traffic exiting the Hugh Carey Tunnel will only be permitted to travel southbound
South-bound traffic on the FDR Drive utilizing the Battery Park Underpass and proceeding north on West
Street will be diverted to the Brooklyn-bound Hugh Carey Tunnel, only
There will also be a West Street pedestrian crossing on the southbound side of Murray Street, where students at Stuyvesant High School are instructed to cross.Safety agents will be on hand to help out.