8 killed in "terror" attack downtown

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Carnage along the Hudson River on the lower West Side


  • NYPD and FBI personnel at the scene of Tuesday afternoon's attack that killed eight people. Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photo Office.

A 20-block swath of the Hudson River Greenway between Houston Street and Chambers Street became a terrorism crime scene as a driver in a rented Home Depot pick-up truck mowed down at least 23 people this afternoon, leaving eight dead and at least 15 injured.

“This was an act of terror — and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said within two hours of the attack.

From the northern edge of SoHo to the southern end of Tribeca, the assailant sped southbound down the park's bike line, indiscriminately ramming into pedestrians and cyclists whenever he crossed their paths and sending scores of panicked people racing pell-mell for their lives, authorities said.

The carnage finally ended after he crashed into a school bus near the footbridge spanning West Street at Stuyvesant High School, just blocks to the north of the World Trade Center, scene of the most catastrophic act of mass terror in U.S history.

A trail of mangled bodies, Citi Bikes and auto parts had been left in his wake.

At that point, shortly after 3:15 p.m., the suspect, a 29-year-old, jumped out of the vehicle, brandished a pair of weapons – later identified as a pellet gun and a paintball gun – and began to shout, “Allahu Akbar,” which translates from the Arabic as “God is great.”

He was immediately confronted and shot several times, including once in the abdomen, by a police officer assigned to the nearby First Precinct on Ericsson Place, according to Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill, who credited the cop with saving the lives of countless innocents in the area.

The officer was not immediately identified.

O'Neill said the assailant was expected to survive and was being treated for his wounds at a hospital he declined to name. Citing multiple law enforcement officials, The New York Times and other media outlets reported that the man in custody was of Middle Eastern origin, identifying him as Sayfullo Saipov, whose last known address was in Tampa, Florida. The Associated Press is saying he is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. in 2010.

Police and FBI investigators quickly determined that the attack was a deliberate act of terror, designed and orchestrated to maximize casualties, that was carried out by a killer they termed a “lone-wolf assailant.”

Ruben Cabrera, 23, said he was sitting with his cousin near the outdoor basketball courts at Borough of Manhattan Community College on Chambers Street when he heard several pops.

“At first I thought it was fireworks,” he said. Thinking they were related to an event at the high school, just across the West Side Highway, Cabrera walked to the nearby Tribeca Bridge, a pedestrian crossing, where he glimpsed the attack's aftermath, including two mangled bicycles and strewn bodies in the path.

Police and emergency personnel were already on the scene, he said, some appearing trying to revive a victim.

“I can't believe it was so many people,” said Cabrera, a BMCC student who works in a hospital emergency room. “It's not something you expect happen down here.”

At a briefing barely two hours after the bloodshed, law enforcement officials said there was “no ongoing threat to the city” and that the night's Halloween Parade, a hallowed downtown tradition, would go on as planned, albeit under a beefed-up and heavily armed police presence.

“People should go about their business knowing the NYPD will be out there in force,” de Blasio said.

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