Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov has been identified as the suspect in Tuesday’s terror attack in Manhattan.
Eight people were killed and at least 11 seriously injured after a man drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck down a busy Manhattan bike path. Police told reporters that the 29-year-old suspect was in custody after the attack.
On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a note found at the scene referenced the Islamic State and that the suspect had been radicalized in the U.S. Cuomo said the contents of the note were under investigation.
Cuomo called the driver a “depraved coward,” and said the attack “did not instil terror” among hardy New Yorkers.
Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counter-terrorism of the NYPD, John Miller, said Saipov had been planning the attack for “weeks.”
“Based on the investigation overnight, it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks,” Miller said. “He did this in the name of ISIS and along with other items recovered at the scene was some notes that further indicate that.”
Miller went on to add the notes were handwritten in Arabic and the “gist of the note was the Islamic State will endure forever.”
“He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a tee, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack,” Miller said.
Authorities noted that Saipov had not been a subject of an NYPD nor FBI investigation in the past.
Authorities confirmed Saipov moved from Uzbekistan to the U.S. legally in 2010. He carried Florida driver’s license when he was arrested, though NBC reports that Saipov may have been living in New Jersey.
The Guardian reports that a woman from Cincinnati, Ohio said that Saipov had stayed in her home for several months approximately six years ago. The woman, who identified herself as Dilfuza Iskhakova, said he stayed with her after arriving in the U.S. from Uzbekistan.
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“He seemed like a nice guy, but he didn’t talk much,” said Iskhakova. “He only went to work and came back. He used to work at a warehouse,” Iskhakova told the Guardian.
Iskhakova also told the Guardian that Saipov had been applying for a green card when they knew each other. Ohio state records reveal that Saipov registered a business involving vehicles to her home in May of 2011. ABC News adds that he had business licenses for a pair of Ohio-based trucking companies; Sayf Motors Inc. in Cincinnati, and Bright Auto LLC in Cuyahoga Falls.
Iskhakova said that she and her family lost contact with Saipov, but that she thought he’d moved from Ohio to Florida and then to the New York area.
“He’s from my country,” Iskhakova said. “His father knows my husband, and sent Sayfullo here because he didn’t know anyone,” she told the Guardian.
After he moved to New Jersey, the New York Times and ABC News report that Saipov began driving for Uber. Uber confirmed Saipov was a driver for six months, making over 1,400 trips, and had passed the ride-hailing company’s background check.
Authorities said the truck traveled south on the bike path, hitting several people, before colliding with a school bus. The suspect, who authorities believe acted alone, was shot by a New York police officer in the abdomen after emerging from the vehicle with what were later determined to be two imitation firearms, a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
Reports say NYPD officer Ryan Nash was the officer who shot him.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident an “act of terror.”
Witnesses told NYPD officers at the scene that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” – meaning “God is Great” in Arabic – as he jumped from the truck, reports CBS.
The suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Authorities said Wednesday, multiple knives and two fake guns, a paintball gun and an air rifle, were found in and around the rented truck used to carry out the attack.
No social media accounts linked to Saipov emerged immediately after the attack.
— with files from Global News reporter Adam Frisk