UPDATED 11/01/17 12:51 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Eight people were killed and more than a dozen were injured after a truck plowed into several people on a bike path in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.
A suspect was shot by police and is in custody in what officials called an act of terrorism.
“This was an act of terror,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, “a particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea of what was about to hit them.”
The suspect was identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. He is believed to be from Uzbekistan and had a Florida driver’s license.
The incident began at 3:05 p.m. when a rented Home Depot truck entered the bike path at Houston Street along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, police said.
The truck rammed several people on the path from behind and ultimately crashed into a school bus at Chambers Street.
Two adults and two children – students – were on board the school bus and were injured, one student critically.
A man came out of the truck after striking the school bus wielding what appeared to be two weapons. The weapons turned out to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun, O’Neill said.
Witnesses told the NYPD the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic when he jumped out of the truck. Meanwhile, a federal law enforcement source told CBS News a note was found in the suspect’s truck that made reference to ISIS.
“He was pointing, like, randomly, but he wasn’t shooting at the time that I saw him,” said witness Tawhid Kapir. “He’s just running in the circle, like in the middle of the road, with the gun.”
First Precinct Officer Ryan Nash confronted Saipov and shot him when he refused to drop his weapons.
Saipov was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and was out of surgery late Tuesday night.
Six of the victims died at the scene, officials said.
More than a dozen people were injured in the incident, officials said. Ten patients were taken to New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. Of those 10, three were in critical. Two patients taken there passed away, the hospital said.
There was no active threat following the attack, officials said. Officials said the attack appeared to be a “lone wolf” incident and there was no immediate evidence of a wider plot.
Sources say Saipov left a note in his rental truck pledging allegiance to ISIS which has called on Jihadis to carry out attacks with trucks.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill called it a “tragedy of tremendous magnitude.”
“The dead and injured were just going about their days, heading home from work or from school, or enjoying the afternoon sun on bicycles,” he added.
Among those killed were five people from Argentina, one person from Germany, and one from Belgium.
The Argentinians were identified as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. An additional Argentinian, Martín Ludovico Marro was recovering at Presbyterian Hospital.
“We know this action was intended to break our spirit. But we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient, and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us,” de Blasio said. “We will respond as we always do: We will be undeterred.”
“There will extensive addition deployments of NYPD officers this evening and throughout the days ahead,” de Blasio said.
The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade went on Tuesday night as usual, though participants said a heavily armed police was visible.
The crime scene was large — stretching up and down the west side of Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center — the investigation is being conducted jointly with the FBI, officials said.
“There will be a very, very thorough investigation,” de Blasio said. “People should go about their business knowing that the NYPD is out in force.”
“The new terrorist tactic, which they’ve called for publicly, are these lone wolves who commit an act of terror,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This is all very preliminary, it’s only been a couple of hours, but at this point there’s no evidence of a wider plot or a wider scheme but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror, and that was the purpose.”
Students at Stuyvesant High School and the Borough of Manhattan Community College were horrified as they looked out classroom windows and saw the attack unfold.
“To know that this can happen any time, any day, it’s really scary,” Shakeema Carter said.
Counter-terror teams with heavy weapons and tactical gear were deployed to Port Authority locations in New York and New Jersey after the incident, the Port Authority Police said.
“It is just out of vigilance, out of caution,” said Cuomo.
“The truth is New York is an international system of freedom and democracy. That’s what we are. And we are proud of it. That also makes us a target for those people who oppose those concepts,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to let them win. And if we change our lives and we contort ourselves to them then they win and we lose.”
Police swarmed the location and urged people to avoid the area.
The West Side Highway was closed in both directions from 34th Street to Chambers Street following the attack. Click here to check current traffic conditions.
A rented Home Depot truck was used in the incident. As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the truck was rented at a Home Depot in Passaic. On Tuesday night, police were at the store and had surrounded a vehicle in the parking lot.
Saipov has addresses in Florida and in New Jersey — 168 Genessee St. in Paterson is believed to be where he lived, at least part time with his wife and two young children.
Witnesses described the shocking carnage they saw at the scene.
“A vehicle drove straight down a bicycle path heading south in Manhattan just mowing everything down,” witness Greg Ahl told 1010 WINS. “It looks like a vehicle drove down the bicycle path and ran everything over.”
New York City activated its Unified Victim Identification System in the wake of the incident. People who are concerned about the welfare of someone who may have been affected by the incident and they can not be reached are urged to call 311. From outside New York City, you can call (212) 639-9675.
Images from the scene showed a flatbed truck with a smashed up front end. Video from the scene showed several mangled bicycles along the bike path.
“I noticed along the bike path a bunch of wrecked bicycles and as I drove it was just more and more completely and totally wrecked bicycles and people mulling around to the side. I must’ve seen 30 or 40 bicycles like that,” Ahl said.
“I saw a lot of debris, like car parts of something in one of the piles of bicycles but it was a lot,” Ahl said.
Students at some schools in the area were told to shelter in place during the incident.
“Today there was an act of terror in close proximity to several schools in lower Manhattan,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We stand with the entire city as we mourn this senseless loss of life. We are grateful to the first responders and school staff who work tirelessly to help keep our schools and communities safe. Ongoing guidance and trauma counselors will be provided across schools to those in need tomorrow.”
President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and commented on it on Twitter.
“In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person,” Trump tweeted. “Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”
“We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”, Trump wrote.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says “our thoughts and prayers with all those affected.”
Other local and national organizations and dignitaries also offered condolences.
“Today our city and our nation are stunned and horrified by another act of senseless violence,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “While details continue to emerge, one thing is clear: Once again, no matter our religion, racial or ethnic background, or political beliefs, we must put or differences aside and come together in faith and love to support those who are injured, pray for those who have died as well as their families and loved ones, and work towards greater respect and understanding among all people so that heinous and evil acts like this become a thing of the past.”
The U.S. Department of Justice also released a statement following the attack: “”The New York field office of the FBI, the NYPD and other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating this terrorist attack in the heart of New York City. The Attorney General was briefed by Director Wray this afternoon. The Department of Justice will work with its partners in law enforcement and the intelligence community to thoroughly investigate this matter. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this vicious terrorist attack and our hearts are with all the people of New York.”
Suspect Saipov came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010, CBS News has confirmed. According to CBS News national security analyst Fran Townsend, extremist organization called the IMU, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Townsend reports. Established in 1998, IMU moved from being an affiliate of al Qaeda to ISIS in 2015, Townsend said. Both al Qaeda and ISIS have talked about car attacks.
According to Townsend, investigators will be looking into whether he was motivated by IMU or other extremist groups and if he had any contact with him — which is one reason they will be searching Saipov’s electronic devices.
Saipov doesn’t appear to have an extensive criminal background, CBS News’ justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports. Both the FBI and the NYPD are “digging” into Saipov’s background, Pegues reports.
An Uber representative confirmed that Saipov was a driver for them and had passed a background check. He has been banned from the app. Uber has been in contact with the FBI and law enforcement.
The FBI asked that anyone with information (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324) and select option 1. Tipsters may remain anonymous.