At least eight people have been killed after a truck rampage in lower Manhattan at just after 3pm local time that police are treating as a terror related incident. Six died at the scene and two died before reaching hospital.
A further eleven cyclists and pedestrians were also injured after the male suspect, who is believed to be 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national from Tampa, Florida, drove a rented pick-up vehicle the wrong way down a two-lane bike highway on the west side of Manhattan, right next to the 9/11 memorial site.
After colliding with a school bus at Chambers Street, Mr Saipov, who came to America in 2010, exited the vehicle brandishing two handguns and began shouting out to the crowds - some reports claim he was saying “Allahu Akbar”. He was shot in the abdomen by a NYPD officer who was on the scene and it was subsequently discovered the two weapons were a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
The suspect was taken to an unidentified hospital where he is under police guard and is expected to live. It is believed that the authorities were aware of who he was.
New York’s police commissioner James P O'Neill told a press conference that the “dead and injured were just going about their days. This is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude.”
The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio said: “This is an act of terror. A cowardly attack, aimed at innocent civilians going about their lives. We have been tested before and New Yorkers won’t give in in the face of these actions. We will be undeterred. We ask all New Yorkers to remain vigilant and know that there will be extensive deployments of NYPD officers tonight [on Halloween].”
New York state’s governor Andrew Cuomo added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those whom we lost today. [It reminds you] how precious life is, these people were enjoying the beautiful West Side and won't be returning home today. The first responders did an extraordinary job. We have the finest security on the globe and to see them in action proved that once again.
“This is a new terror tactic of these lone wolves who carry out such actions. [There is] no evidence of a wider scheme, [it is the] actions of one individual who meant to cause pain, harm and death, and resulting terror. [There will be] more police everywhere, at the airports and tunnels, there’s no evidence of additonal threat, just out of vigilance.
Cuomo continued: “New York is a symbol of freedom and democracy and that makes us a target for those who oppose those concepts; we [have] felt that pain before, we feel it again today, [but] we go forward stronger than ever, together. If we change, if we contort ourselves to them, they win and we lose. New Yorkers: live your life and don't let them change your lives in any shape or form.”