An Uzbek man shouting ‘God is great’ ploughed a pickup truck down a crowded bike path near the World Trade Centre on Wednesday, killing at least eight persons and injuring 11 others in an ISIS-inspired plot termed as the deadliest terrorist attack on the city since 9/11.
The 29-year-old suspect was shot in the stomach by a police officer before being arrested. The media named the Uzbek man as Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant who came to the US in 2010.
The incident took place along the normally gridlocked West Side Highway, a major thoroughfare that runs along the western edge of Manhattan by the Hudson River as Americans celebrated Halloween. Manhattan is the most densely populated borough of the New York City.
The attacker left nearly a half km crime scene — a tree-lined bike path strewn with mangled bicycles and their parts.
Police said the truck drove south after entering a pedestrian and bicycle path, where it struck multiple people. Six men were pronounced dead at the scene on the cycle lane and two other people were dead on arrival at the hospital.
The victims included five Argentinians and a Belgian citizen.
After smashing the truck into a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, the suspect exited the truck displaying “imitation firearms” and was shot by police, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).
“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said witness Eugene Duffy, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West Street.
The driver shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) after getting out of the vehicle, New York Post reported. A note in English was found in the truck that referred to the Islamic State terror group, media reports said.
A pellet gun and a paintball gun were recovered from the scene, officials said.
At least 11 people were transported to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
A spokesman for Home Depot confirmed one of the company’s rental trucks was part of an incident in lower Manhattan and said the company is “cooperating with authorities” in the investigation.
The suspect, who hails from Paterson New Jersey, had multiple interactions with law enforcement in several states, online records show. Saipov had traffic citations issued in Missouri and Pennsylvania.
Authorities said the suspect was hospitalised, underwent surgery and was expected to survive.
US President Donald Trump denounced the attack, saying “we must not allow ISIS to return”. “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.!” Trump tweeted.
The US Justice Department said in a statement that a joint terrorism task force that included the FBI, the NYPD and others was investigating the attack.