Manhattan terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov “requested to display ISIS’ flag in his hospital room” after the attack and “stated that he felt good about what he had done,” a criminal indictment against him alleges.
The complaint accusing Saipov, 29, of terrorism charges provides the most detailed account of how authorities allege the New York Halloween attack unfolded and how Saipov became an ISIS adherent. According to the complaint, which you can read in full below, Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, became radicalized after watching ISIS videos on the Internet.
The complaint describes how Saipov rammed the truck into people on the busy bicycle path and then “exited the driver’s door of the truck with two objects in his hands that appeared to be firearms,” yelling “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic. Saipov was shot by a police officer and taken into custody, dropping the weapons, which consisted of a paintball gun, a pellet gun, and a black bag. Inside the bag, he had three knives and a wallet that contained a Florida driver’s license for Saipov. Authorities also recovered two cellular phones and a stun gun on the truck’s floor. Near the driver’s door of the truck, authorities recovered a document with Arabic and English text. Saipov was not able to reach the knives when he jumped out of the truck, the complaint says.
Most of the above was known early on, but the complaint also provides other chilling details, describing how Saipov’s cell phone was allegedly loaded with ISIS death videos and detailing how the suspect allegedly made a practice run with a truck.
The Home Depot truck used to perpetrate the attack was rented from a store in Passaic, New Jersey, according to the complaint. Saipov was permitted to use the truck for 75 minutes, and he entered and exited the store on October 31. The note authorities found in that truck after the attack said “in substance and in part, ‘No God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet’ and ‘Islamic Supplication. It will endure.’ Authorities said that “It will endure” is commonly used to refer to ISIS.
Saipov spoke to authorities in his hospital room and, in addition to asking to hang the ISIS flag in his room, said he was “inspired to carry out the truck attack by ISIS videos he had watched on his cellular phone. Approximately one year ago, Saipov began planning an attack in the United States, and approximately two months ago, Saipov decided to use a truck in order to inflict maximum damage against civilians. In particular, Saipov was motivated to commit the attack after viewing a video in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… the leader of ISIS… questioned what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.”
On or about October 22, 2017, “Saipov rented a truck from the store so he could make practice making turns with the truck in advance of the attack. He chose Halloween because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” the complaint alleges.
On October 31, he rented the truck with no intention of ever returning it. Saipov wanted to kill as many people as he could, the complaint alleges. Saipov also wanted to display ISIS flags in the front and back of the truck during the attack, but decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself, said the complaint, which details interviews he gave to authorities in the hospital.
The first cell phone had 90 videos which appeared to be ISIS-related propaganda. For example they include a video of what appear to be ISIS fighters killing a prisoner by running the prisoner over with a tank; a video of what appear to be ISIS fighters shooting a prisoner in the face; a video of a beheading, and a video that appears to provide instructions for how to make a homemade improved explosive device. The photo contains 3,800 images, many of them ISIS propaganda, including the symbol for ISIS’ media wing, multiple images of al-Baghdadi, and an image of an ISIS member standing next to an individual who appears to have been shot, the complaint said.
The second phone had an internet search history that included a search for the store in Passaic on October 4, an October 15 search for Halloween in NC and on or about October 18 a search for truck rentals at another store.
Eight people died in the terrorist attack, the worst on New York soil since September 11, 2001.
You can read more about Sayfullo Saipov here: