Terrorist Truck Attack in New York City

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Top Stories

On Halloween (October 31), a man named Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove a rented pickup truck into pedestrians and bicyclists on the Hudson River Park bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring twelve others. It was the worst attack in New York City since the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.

What Happened?

Earlier in the day, Saipov rented a truck from a Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey. He returned to Manhattan and drove straight to the Hudson River Park bike path. He drove the vehicle along the bike path for about a mile, striking runners and cyclists, before crashing into a school bus just blocks from One World Trade Center, the site of the 9/11 attacks. He fled the truck, armed with a pellet gun and a paintball gun. Witnesses say that he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”). He was then shot in the stomach by police and arrested.

New York City fire trucks

New York City fire trucks

Later, police found a note near the truck (written in both English and Arabic) saying that the attack was carried out in the name of ISIS. They also found a bag of knives and a stun gun in the vehicle.

Who Was the Driver?

Saipov is a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan who came to the United States in 2010. According to authorities, he had been planning the attack for about a year, after viewing ISIS propaganda videos about the killing of Muslims in Iraq. He had rented another Home Depot truck several days earlier so that he could practice driving it, and repeatedly rehearsed the route he would take into Manhattan from New Jersey several times using an Uber car. He allegedly chose Halloween to carry out the attack so that more people would be in the streets when it happened.

Saipov is married with three children and lives in Paterson, New Jersey. His wife claims to have had no knowledge of his plans. In the hospital in the days following the attack, Saipov asked staff members to display an ISIS flag and said that he felt good about what he had done.

Who Were the Victims?

Five of the people killed were Argentine tourists who were in Manhattan to celebrate their 30th high school reunion. A sixth tourist–a mother of two from Belgium–was also killed. The other two victims were from the metropolitan area. One was a 24-year-old computer scientist who lived just blocks away. The final victim was a 32-year-old financial analyst who lived across the Hudson River in New Jersey with his parents.

Among many of the survivors, injuries are severe, including in one case the amputation of multiple limbs.

What Now?

Saipov will be tried in civilian court (not a military court, as President Trump requested). If found guilty, he could face the death penalty. Other than the note found by police outside the truck, and the fact that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, there is no actual evidence yet uncovered that connects Saipov to ISIS. Law enforcement continues to investigate this relationship, as well as to hunt for others who may have played a role in the attack.

Dig Deeper Look up Uzbekistan on a map. Does it surprise you to learn that the attacker came from this part of the world? Why or why not?