New Yorker among 8 killed in attack

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Law enforcement officials said terror plan was in the works for weeks


  • Nicholas Cleves, 23, of Greenwich Street in New York City, was among the eight persons killed in yesterday's attack. Photo: Facebook.

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

A New York man was among the eight people killed in the terror attack along the West Side Highway bike path yesterday’s, police said today.

Nicholas Cleves, 23, of Greenwich Street, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed by Sayfullo Saipov, the driver of a rented truck who mowed down pedestrians and bicyclists along the bike path adjacent to the Hudson River, wreaking for nearly a mile yesterday afternoon. Five of those killed were from Argentina and one was from Belgium, police said.

At least 12 others were wounded, four of whom remained in critical but stable conditions at area hospitals, city Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said this morning. Three have been released. The rest were in serious condition, he said.

Cleves, who graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs with degrees in computer science and physics last year, was working as a software engineer and analyst at United Digital Group, according to his social media pages. He had graduated from Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village.

Saipov, a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan, was shot and wounded by police who had been investigating an incident at nearby Stuyvesant High School. Saipov had driven off the bicycle path near the intersection of Chambers Street where the truck collided with a small school bus. He got out of the truck waiving what were later determined to be a pellet gun and a paint gun and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” when he was shot by Officer Ryan Nash, a five-year department veteran assigned to the First Precinct. Saipov was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said authorities had spoken with him, but, citing a continuing, nationwide, around-the-clock investigation, he declined to detail what was said.

“It appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks” and in the name of ISIS, Miller said, citing notes recovered at the scene.

“He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels ... on how to carry out such an attack,” he said.

NYPD Chief Carlos Gomez said officers and heavy weapons teams were deployed citywide immediately following the attack, including at last night’s Halloween parade in Greenwich Village, which officials said drew one million people.

He said residents will notice a heavier police presence in days to come, and particularly during Sunday’s New York City Marathon.

“You’ll see more officers on the trains, you’ll see more officers on the platforms,” he said.

Residents, Gomez said, should expect more bag checks at subway entrances and to see more explosive-detecting dogs.

The marathon, expected to draw 51,000 runners roughly 2.5 million spectators, would be heavily patrolled, including by rooftop observation teams with snipers, he said.

“This increase will supplement the already large, substantial detail of officers” along the route, he said. Plainclothes and counterterrorism officers and police dogs will also be present. Planes will also patrol the 26.2-mile route.

“It’s going to be very safe event,” Gomez said.

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo commended New Yorkers for their tenacity and resilience in the wake of the most serious terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. “This was an attack on the United States of America, an attack on New York City, an attack our people and it was a definition of terrorism, an effort to take away people’s hope and spirit and to make them change,” de Blasio said this morning. “And what New Yorkers showed already is we will not change, we will be cowed, we will not be thrown off by anything.”

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