NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A federal grand jury has indicted the man accused in a deadly Halloween terror attack in lower Manhattan.
Sayfullo Saipov has been indicted on eight counts of murder, twelve counts of attempted murder, and supporting a terror group.
“As alleged in this indictment, Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities. People have a right to safety walking down a sidewalk or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad. I am especially proud today of the law enforcement officers who acted quickly and courageously to respond and to protect people from further harm. We continue to offer our assistance, our support and our prayers to the victims of this attack and to all the people of New York City.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Saipov is charged with renting a truck, driving into Manhattan, and running over 20 people on a bike path.
Authorities say he rented the truck in New Jersey and drove into the city via the George Washington Bridge, heading south on the West Side Highway.
When he reached Houston Street, Saipov allegedly drove onto a bike path and mowed down victims before slamming into a school bus.
Saipov then jumped out of the truck and yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ — an Arabic phrase meaning ‘god is great’ according to the indictment.
While exiting the truck he grabbed two items that appeared to many to be firearms. He was shot by cops and taken into custody near West and Chambers Streets. Officers searched the truck and Saipov’s person and discovered materials believed to be terrorist propaganda.
“Cellphones recovered from the truck contained, among other things, videos and images of ISIS propaganda, and internet searches for truck rentals and for Halloween in New York City,” authorities said.
The charging documents say Saipov wanted to hang ISIS flags in the truck but decided against it because he thought it would draw attention to himself, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported.
Authorities said Saipov waived his Miranda rights while in custody at Bellevue hospital and admitted to carrying out the attack after being inspired by ISIS videos that he had watched on his phone. He allegedly planned the attack for Halloween in hopes of hitting more people, and intended to continue the attack on the Brooklyn bridge.
“Like many terrorists before him, Saipov will now face justice in an American court. And like New York City’s response to his alleged attack, we expect that justice in this case will be swift, firm, and resolute,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.
Saipov is eligible for the death penalty.