Several Dead In Manhattan After Driver Plows Down Bike Path
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
And we continue our coverage of today's attack in New York City. A man in a rented pickup truck killed at least eight people and injured more than 10 others when he drove down a bike path in lower Manhattan.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
BILL DE BLASIO: Let me be clear that based on the information we have at this moment. 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.
KELLY: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is speaking there. He joined several other officials in a news conference this afternoon, among them New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the suspect appeared to act alone, and there is no ongoing threat.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
ANDREW CUOMO: There's no evidence of that at this time, so there's no reason to have any undue anxiety. You will see more security forces, but that's only because it's an abundance of caution and not a signal of anything else. And there will be continued investigation. And justice will be done.
KELLY: NPR's Joel Rose is in New York, and he joins us now. Hi, Joel.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: I want you to walk us through the timeline of what happened in just a moment. But first, can you give us any update on what we have been able to learn about this suspect now in police custody?
ROSE: Well, we don't know too much. But NYPD officials tell NPR the suspect is 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. A law enforcement official says he was born in Uzbekistan. According to public records, he has lived in Florida, Ohio and recently in New Jersey. But police aren't saying much more about him at this point.
KELLY: OK, so we don't have any idea in terms of motive at this point, nothing specific we can pin down.
ROSE: No, not yet. Although, you know, there is a lot of speculation about exactly what it was that he yelled as he got out of the truck. But I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself here.
KELLY: Some eyewitnesses are reporting that he shouted Allahu akbar, which would be God is great in Arabic.
ROSE: Right. And police were asked about that at a press conference earlier tonight, and they did not confirm it. But they say that whatever he shouted, along with the actual details of the attack, have dictated that they're treating this like a terror investigation.
KELLY: OK. Walk us through some of those details of the actual attack. This all started just after 3 o'clock there in New York.
ROSE: That's right. Saipov was driving, police allege, a rented Home Depot pickup truck into the bike lane - sorry - into a bike path on the far west side of Manhattan. There's sort of a two-way bike path that parallels the West Side Highway. And he drove his pickup truck, the police say, down that path for almost eight-tenths of a mile, striking a number of pedestrians and cyclists. Social media images showed mangled bicycles left in the roadway.
The truck, police say, finally exited the bike lane around - the bike path around Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan just a couple blocks north of the World Trade Center site. That is where it collided with a school bus. And then Saipov emerged from the pickup truck holding what turned out to be, police say, imitation firearms - a pellet gun and a paintball gun. Police say that's when he was shot and then subsequently taken into custody.
KELLY: When you say this happened very near the World Trade Center memorial site - any significance to that that we know of?
ROSE: I mean, it's hard to say. Certainly the World Trade Center site everyone knows is the site of the worst terror attack in U.S. history. But this attack began, you know, some distance north of there around Houston Street and then continued south down the west side all the way to Chambers Street.
ROSE: You know, so it's not really clear exactly why he ended up where he did. But of course, you know, it was a pretty iconic location.
KELLY: And in the few seconds we have left - just to note that the Halloween parade did go on tonight as scheduled in New York. Is that right?
ROSE: That's right. And you know, just a few hours after the press conference, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo went out to the parade to, you know, show that they are not afraid and that New Yorkers should not be either, that we should go on and live our lives.
KELLY: OK. Thank you, Joel.
ROSE: You're welcome.
KELLY: NPR's Joel Rose reporting from New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.