A man driving a rental truck plowed into bicyclists and pedestrians crowded on a bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring 20 others.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in New York said they were filing two counts of federal terrorism charges against the suspect, who was identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a Uzbekistan native who entered the U.S. legally in 2010.
The first is material support of a terrorist organization, in this case ISIS. The second is a charge of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle, with willful disregard for the safety of human life that resulted in multiple deaths.
Here’s everything we know so far about Tuesday’s attack.
Shortly after 3 p.m. on Halloween afternoon, a man driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck entered a bike path in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, police told reporters at a news conference hours after the incident. He struck several pedestrians before continuing toward Chambers Street, where the truck collided with a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, police said. The suspect then exited the vehicle with two imitation guns.
Several witnesses told news outlets that the suspect had yelled “Allahu Akbar” before he was shot in the abdomen by a police officer, who was identified by CNN as NYPD officer Ryan Nash, who’s been on the force for five years.
Authorities later said the fake weapons were identified as a paintball gun and a pellet gun. The driver was taken into custody and is expected to survive.
New York officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, initially called the incident an “act of terror.”
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?
The attack left eight people dead and another 20 injured.
A day after the attack, the Argentine foreign ministry said five of the eight people killed in the attack were a group of Argentinian friends who had traveled to New York City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. One of the deceased was from Belgium. Police said six of the eight victims, all men, were pronounced dead at the scene. Police said those injured were taken to a local hospital.
WHO IS THE SUSPECT?
Authorities identified the driver as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who came into the U.S. legally in 2010. Officials told the Associated Press that they believed Saipov first lived in Ohio after reaching the U.S.
After sifting through public records, AP reported that the suspect, beyond Ohio, has also lived in Florida and New Jersey. The suspect also had previously worked as a commercial truck driver and, for six months, drove for Uber. The ride-sharing company said Saipov had passed its background check to drive for the company.
The FBI also previously said Wednesday night it was seeking information about another man from Uzbekistan in relation to Tuesday’s attack. But the FBI announced shortly after it issued the alert that it was no longer seeking the man in question.
WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE?
Saipov “did this in the name of ISIS,” police told reporters on Wednesday.
The suspect had been planning the attack for weeks, police said, adding they discovered a note inside the truck, handwritten in Arabic. Officials said the note included phrases commonly associated with ISIS.
Earlier Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had also previously called Tuesday’s incident as a “lone wolf” attack, adding that it didn’t appear to be part of a larger plot.
The suspect had multiple knives in addition to imitation guns, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner John Miller said Wednesday.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, who announced the terrorism charges against Saipov on Wednesday, told reporters about the additional evidence that supported the charges in the criminal complaint. This included cell phones found at the scene that housed thousands of ISIS-related images and videos.
A day after the Halloween truck attack in New York, federal prosecutors announced terrorism charges against the suspect.
Kim also said that Saipov, in interviews with law enforcement since the attack, admitted that he was inspired by the ISIS videos he had watched and had planned the attack. Saipov also admitted to investigators, Kim said, that he rented a truck on Oct. 22 to practice the attack.
WHY ATTACK WITH A TRUCK?
Tuesday’s incident was similar to other vehicle attacks seen in Europe in recent years. On Aug. 17, a van rammed into crowds at Las Ramblas, a popular tourist spot in Barcelona, Spain. The attack killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100 others.
John Yang speaks with Lorenzo Vidino of George Washington University about how the latest incident may fit into recent acts of extremism in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told PBS NewsHour that many of the individuals behind ISIS-inspired attacks in North America and Europe in recent years “were not linked operationally to ISIS.”
“These were people who had obviously received inspiration from the group. They might have been in contact with people within the organization online, but it was acts carried out without any kind of structural support,” he said.
Vidino added that experts have only seen a couple of attacks “carried out by individuals who are trained and dispatched by ISIS.”
OTHER RECENT TERROR ATTACKS IN NYC
New York has seen several attempted terror plots since 9/11. In 2009, a group of men led by al Qaeda-trained Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant who grew up in New York, had planned on detonating bombs in their backpacks on the city’s subway trains. The New York subway plot was part of a coordinated global plan, orchestrated by al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, to also bomb a target in the UK. The 2009 plot was thwarted by authorities and several of the men involved have been convicted in a federal court.
In 2010, an attempted car bomb planted by Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani immigrant linked to the Pakistan Taliban, failed to detonate in Times Square. He was convicted in federal court and is now serving life in prison.
Last year, one terror attack was carried out in New York when Ahmad Rahimi, an Afghan immigrant and New Jersey resident, detonated a shrapnel-packed bomb in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Though 30 people were wounded by flying debris, no one was killed in the September 2016 attack, which caused extensive property damage at the scene. Rahimi was convicted two weeks ago in a Manhattan jury trial and faces a mandatory life sentence in January.
HOW ARE LEADERS REACTING?
After Tuesday’s incident, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that “we must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”
Trump, on Wednesday, also tweeted that he had “ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” When asked whether DHS could confirm it received that order from the president, acting DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton told the NewsHour to contact the White House about the president’s tweets.
The president also tweeted that the suspect “came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty.”
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to the AP that the suspect entered the country through in 2010 under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which is designed to grant a limited number of visas to immigrants from other parts of the world with lower rates of immigration to the U.S.
PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.