Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national who came to the United States in 2010, has been named in multiple news reports as the driver who is accused of ramming a Home Depot rental truck into people on a busy bike path in lower Manhattan. Several photos have emerged of the suspect, including his driver’s license.
Quoting a friend, The New York Post said that Saipov was working recently as an Uber driver. The friend “said he’d been working for Uber and living in New Jersey as recently as this summer,” reported The Post.
Chilling photos and videos emerged of the scene’s aftermath, with some capturing images of Saipov in them. His driver’s license and old photos have also circulated on social media, and he appears to have had a spare Facebook page with a few photos on it. The attack killed at least eight people and injured almost a dozen. It occurred almost in the shadow of the World Trade Center memorial, and it was New York’s deadliest terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.
Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name officially, but Saipov was named in multiple news media reports, citing law enforcement sources. The police commissioner, mayor, and governor of New York did hold a news conference on October 31 in the wake of the attack, in which they said the suspect was 29-years-old and was not from New York.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio quickly deemed the truck ramming an “act of terror,” as witnesses described how the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic, before a New York police officer shot and wounded the suspect. The suspect is still alive and is in police custody, authorities revealed.
ABC News and other media outlets named the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov of Tampa, Florida, but online records show that he has traversed many U.S. states since coming to the United States in 2010, accruing a series of minor traffic offenses along the way. According to CBS News, the terror suspect is “Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, apparently from Uzbekistan.” He is an Uzbek national who has been in the United States for seven years, according to NBC and CNN, although it’s not yet clear whether he was in the United States legally.
Online records reveal that Saipov worked as a commercial truck driver and had ties to Ohio as well, where he owned several businesses.
According to CNN, the FBI has taken over responsibility for the investigation and is considering the attack to be terrorism. Whether the suspect had any ties to ISIS is not yet clear. “The truth is, New York is an international symbol of freedom and Democracy,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in the press conference, describing the suspect as a likely “lone wolf.” He added, “That also makes us a target from those people who oppose those concepts… We go forward together, and we go forward stronger than ever. We’re not going to let them win.” Pedestrians and bicyclists can see the World Trade Center memorial area as they traverse the popular, and usually peaceful, area where the attack occurred.
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.
John Williams witnessed the aftermath of the incident. He said in a media interview widely circulated on Twitter, “It was a Home Depot pickup truck. The front was entirely smashed in, and it had smoke coming out of it… and I heard it was an accident with a bus, but I didn’t see the bus. I did see the Home Depot truck… It was definitely totaled.” He added of the disturbing scene: “Right next to the truck was the man laying on the ground and the man getting arrested.”
The attack occurred at 3:05 p.m., when the male suspect began driving southbound, slamming into a number of pedestrians and bicyclists before colliding with a school bus. The 29-year-old suspect “exited the vehicle brandishing two handguns,” the police commissioner said. A heroic uniformed “police officer confronted the suspect and shot him in the abdomen. A pellet gun and paintball gun were recovered at the scene,” the commissioner said.
“Loss of innocent life on lower Manhattan. This is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude,” Commissioner James O O’Neill said, opening the first news conference after the attack. He said that an NYPD officer stopped the carnage “moments after it began.” He said the quick response “surely helped save additional lives.”
Mayor Bill DeBlasio said “it’s a very painful day in our city. Horrible tragedy on the west side. Based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror.” The mayor added: “I want to ask all New Yorkers, all Americans, to keep the families of those lost in your thoughts, in your prayers.” The victims have not yet been identified.