A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial Tuesday, killing at least eight and injuring at least 11 others in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called "a particularly cowardly act of terror.''
The driver was shot in the abdomen by police and taken into custody after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting "Allahu Akbar!,'' or "God is great'' in Arabic, officials said. His condition was not immediately released.
Two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. He has a Florida driver's license but may have been staying in New Jersey.
Some of the people who were injured in the attack were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where there is a heavy police presence. Ten people had been rushed to NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital in the wake of the attack, and two of those victims were pronounced dead at the hospital.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, three of the injured at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital were in critical condition, while the others are in either fair or good condition.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said two staff members and two students were injured when the truck hit the school bus. One of the students was in critical condition as of 8 p.m. Officials have not released the students' ages.
Officials said the injury total may rise as people who ran away from the scene to escape the truck may arrive at hospitals for treatment later due to injures they sustained in the attack.
The NYPD said the suspect drove a rented Home Depot truck and entered the bike path on West Street, a few blocks above Chambers Street, around 3 p.m., striking multiple people.
Police said the vehicle then struck the school bus at Chambers Street. They said the driver then exited the vehicle and was ultimately shot by NYPD officers. Police say he is expected to survive.
The driver possessed a paintball gun and a BB gun, according to police. A police bomb squad scoured the truck but found no explosives. Two law enforcement officials said a note was recovered inside the truck. One official said the note was handwritten in a foreign language, possibly Arabic.
"This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,'' de Blasio said.
New York and other cities around the globe have been on high alert against attacks by extremists in vehicles. The Islamic State has been exhorting its followers to mow down people, and England, France and Germany have all seen deadly vehicle attacks in recent months and years.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a "lone wolf'' attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill said a statement the driver made as he got out of the truck and the method of attack led police to conclude it was a terrorist act.
A U.S. official familiar with the investigation into what happened says Saipov is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010.
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.
The family friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that 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.''
Police said Saipov rented the truck at about 2 p.m. Tuesday in New Jersey.
Cuomo has increased security at airports, bridges, tunnels, and mass transit systems around the state following a vehicle attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center.
He also has directed the lights on the spire of 1 World Trade Center be lit in red, white and blue in honor of freedom and democracy. He said additional security personnel are being deployed to high-density areas and large public gatherings.
NYPD activity due to the attack has closed some Manhattan streets. As of 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, the West Side Highway was closed both ways between 23rd St. heading down to the Battery Park underpass.
14th and 23rd. St. are shut down both ways from the West Side Highway to the FDR Drive.
MTA officials said the attack and investigation are not affecting the subways.
Police are asking people to avoid the area where the attack happened.
On Twitter, President 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 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!''
At least two covered-over bodies could be seen lying on the path of the attack, and the front end of the pickup was smashed in, as was the side of the school bus.
Tom Gay, a school photographer, heard people saying there was an accident and went down to West Street, where a woman came around the corner shouting, "He has a gun! He has a gun!''
Gay said he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running on West Street holding a gun. He said there was a heavyset man pursuing him.
He said he heard five or six shots, and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.
Farina said trauma counselors will be provided in the schools Wednesday.
Argentina's foreign ministry said five of the dead hailed from that country. Belgian officials said one of the dead was from there.
The Argentine foreign ministry identified five Argentinian citizens killed in the attack. They say Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, and Hernán Ferruchi were in New York City celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation from high school.
A Home Depot Inc. spokesman said the company, based in Atlanta, was "fully cooperating'' with law enforcement in the truck attack investigation.
The ride-hailing service Uber confirmed late Tuesday night that Saipov was one if its drivers. The company said he passed a background check and had been actively driving on the platform for more than six months. He has since been banned from the Uber app.
"We are horrified by this senseless act of violence," the company said in a statement. "Our hearts are with the victims and their families. We have reached out to law enforcement to provide our assistance."
The FBI and NYPD are asking for any help with the investigation into the terror attack.
People are asked to share any images or videos at fbi.gov/nyctribeca
If you have any additional information, you are asked to call 800-2255-324, or the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577- 8477, or for Spanish at 1-888-577-4782.