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8 dead, several injured after truck plows into New York City bike path

Eight people were killed and a nearly dozen more were injured Tuesday after a man in a rented Home Depot pickup truck plowed into pedestrians on a bike path in Lower Manhattan, an attack New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described as an act of terror.

At 3:05 p.m. Tuesday, a man driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck entered the bike path that runs along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, traveling at a high speed and striking several pedestrians, police said at a news conference Tuesday evening.

When the vehicle reached Chambers Street, the truck collided with a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, police said.

The 29-year-old male suspect, identified by several media outlets as Sayfullo Saipov, exited the vehicle brandishing fake handguns — later identified as a paint gun and a pellet gun — before being shot in the abdomen by police. It’s not clear from where the truck was rented.

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said the suspect is in custody at a local hospital and an investigation by the NYPD and the FBI is ongoing. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at this time, there is “no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme.”

Six people, all men, were declared dead at the scene between Houston and Chambers streets, police said. Two additional people were declared dead at the hospital. Eleven people were transported to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said, but the number of injured could grow as those who self-evacuated the area come forward.

The 44th annual Village Halloween Parade continued as scheduled later that evening, with additional police presence as well as special law enforcement teams.

Cuomo said residents and visitors could also expect to see more police presence at airports and tunnels across the state.

It’s too early to say what motivated the suspect, whether he was connected with a specific group or why he targeted the popular bike path. But the attack echoed similar vehicle attacks across Europe in recent months, including one in August that killed 13 and injured more than 100 along a popular Barcelona pedestrian strip known as Las Ramblas.

Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told PBS NewsHour’s John Yang that in many of those vehicle attacks, the suspects “might have been in contact with people within the organization online, but it was acts carried out without any kind of structural support.” Cuomo described Tuesday’s attack as a “lone wolf” effort in his news conference with police.

“I think that’s the initial assessment of something relatively unsophisticated. But I think that’s clearly what investigators are looking into now, whether this individual received support, which could mean somebody rented the truck for him or in a way guided him throughout this process,” Vidino said.

Police have asked anyone with information about the attack to submit tips here.

PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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