New York City attack one of the latest in long, sad list
“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians…This was intended to break our spirit…. We will respond as we always do. We will be undeterred.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio uttered these words at a press briefing shortly after the attack in the city on Tuesday, October 31.
That Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan a truck ran down cyclists, pedestrians and other motorists, echoing similar attacks in Europe. In the attack, eight people lost their lives and at least one dozen others were injured. The incident is the first fatal incident that has occurred in the city since the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The attack began around three in the afternoon, when the pickup truck veered off the main road and onto the cyclist path, striking both cyclists and pedestrians. At the end of the road, the driver collided with a school bus. The incident itself took place no less than a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.
A computer science student named Babatunde Ogunniyi watched the attack unfold. According to his statement to BBC News, they “were sitting outside of college, and I saw this truck coming, revving and swerving…. He was going maybe 60 or 70 mph, in an area where the speed limit is 40 – it’s a very congested area with lots of people.”
The driver of the truck has been identified as Sayfullo Saipov, a New Jersey immigrant He had been working for Uber, having started six months prior to the attack on Tuesday. Uber commented that they were horrified by the events that took place.
Several witnesses recall hearing Saipov yell “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, after emerging from the vehicle wielding a pellet gun and paintball gun, what the New York Police Department initially described as “imitation firearms.” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil confirmer that “he [Saipov] did make a statement when he exited the vehicle. And if you just look at… the attack, that’s consistent with what’s been going on. So that along with the statement has enabled us to label this a terrorist incident.” Shortly after this statement, he was shot in the abdomen by a responding police officer and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Officers responded to the event quickly, ensuring the lack of any presently on going and active threat, especially with preparations for the city’s annual Halloween parade. New York Governor Andrew Como pegged the attack as a “lone wolf,” stating that, “There’s no ongoing threat. There’s no evidence of that at this time. So there’s no reason to have any undue anxiety… You will see more security officers, but that’s only because it’s an abundance of caution, not a signal of anything else.”
Blasio added in that same press conference that “We have been tested before as a city very near the site of today’s tragedy, and New Yorkers do not give in in the face of these kinds of actions.”
Maia Campbell, a senior, studies political science. She is the Campus Life Editor of Le Provocateur.