Manhattan terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov worked as an Uber driver before he rented a Home Depot truck and allegedly rammed it into bicyclists and pedestrians along a peaceful pathway near the World Trade Center site, the company has confirmed.
During the seven years he has been in the United States, Saipov found work in the transportation industry, both as a commercial truck driver and for the popular ride app, Uber. Uber confirmed to ABC News that “truck attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov was an Uber driver. He passed background check, now banned from the app,” reported a network producer. Uber told Fox News that “the company has been in contact with the FBI and has offered its assistance investigating Saipov. It added Uber is reviewing Saipov’s history with the transportation company.”
According to Fox News, “Uber added it has not found any safety reports concerning the terror suspect.” Uber “says driver Sayfullo Saipov passed background check, company ‘horrified’ by his actions, giving full cooperation 2 investigators,” reported a New York Daily News columnist. According to The New York Post, Kobiljon Matkarov, 37, a friend of Saipov’s, met him in Florida five years ago and they became friends. “He is very good guy, he is very friendly… he is like little brother… he look at me like big brother,” Matkarov told the Post, adding that Saipov had “been working for Uber and living in New Jersey as recently as this summer.” He said that Saipov gave him a ride to JFK airport in June.
It’s not the first time an Uber driver has committed mayhem. A 45-year-old Uber driver named Jason Dalton, from Kalamazoo, was suspected of killing six people and wounding two others in a series of apparently random shootings Saturday night in Michigan, police say.
Details about the suspect’s background show that Saipov, 29, is a somewhat recent immigrant to the United States. His nationality is Uzbek. Saipov “is an Uzbek national and came to the U.S. in 2010,” NBC News reported. Although CNN reports that it’s not clear whether Saipov was in the United States lawfully, Fox News reports, through sources, that “the suspect was from Uzbekistan and had a green card. According to The Associated Press, Saipov has a Florida license but may have been living in New Jersey.”
The suspect’s truck driving background may help explain why he pops up in so many states over the past seven years, showing up mostly for minor traffic offenses. The online record trail places him in New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Saipov has registered two businesses in Ohio. He registered Sayf Motors Inc. in Hamilton County in May 2011. The business is located at an apartment on Brisben Place in Cincinnati and the license remains active, state records show.
In August 2013, he registered another active business, Bright Auto LLC. That business is based in an apartment on American Drive in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, records show. Online records show that Bright Auto LLC is an active carrier registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The trucking company has one truck and one driver, records show. Although his Facebook page said he was living in Cleveland, Ohio, Saipov was more recently headquartered in New Jersey, multiple news reports said.
President Trump tweeted that he was stepping up “extreme vetting” for migrants in the wake of the deadly attack. “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” he wrote. The suspect was injured when a New York police officer shot him at the scene and is now out of surgery. “Investigators believe he came to the country legally,” The New York Daily News reported.
The horrific attack unfolded on a sunny Halloween afternoon, around 3 p.m., when the suspect drove the Home Depot truck he’d rented in New Jersey just a short time before into a crowd of mostly Argentinian and Belgian tourists who were enjoying Manhattan, some of them on a bicycle tour. He left behind a trail of carnage, killing eight people and injuring almost a dozen more. New York’s mayor quickly labeled the incident an “act of terror,” and, according to CNN, a note was found in the truck that said the suspect was committing the attack in the name of ISIS.
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