The terrorist accused of plowing a rented truck through a crowd of bicyclists and pedestrians in lower Manhattan has been identified as an Uber driver from Uzbekistan with ties to Florida and New Jersey.
Sources said Sayfullo Saipov jumped a curb along West St. and rumbled along a bike and pedestrian path for nearly four blocks, crushing people in the unsuspecting crowd shortly after 3 p.m.
Eight people were killed in the attack. Six died on the scene, and two died later at an area hospital. Police sources said the suspect left a note proclaiming his loyalty to ISIS in the truck.
Saipov, 29, who was driving the truck believed to have been rented in Passaic, N.J., also lived in Paterson with his wife and small children, sources said.
Cops in New Jersey swarmed both locations looking for clues related to the attack. A neighbor told NJ.com that he drove a white Toyota with Florida plates, and had lived in Paterson for a few months.
An FBI officer with a police dog was checking all the vehicles in the parking lot, the website said.
A Passaic County bomb squad vehicle also was at the scene.
Sources said he also lived for a time in Ohio. A family in the Cincinnati area told a local TV station that Saipov stayed with them for two weeks in 2010 before moving to Florida.
A former Tampa neighbor said Saipov and his family kept to themselves.
The neighbor said Saipov was known in the complex as “an aggressive driver,” and once got into a confrontation with him over an incident in the parking lot.
Saipov was also an active Uber driver for more than six months after passing the company’s background check, according to a spokesperson.
The company is cooperating with the FBI and local law enforcement, she said.
Saipov is originally from Uzbekistan, and came to America in 2010. Investigators believe he came to the country legally.
Police stopped Saipov in Mount Holly Springs Borough, Pa., in March 2015 and he gave police a Paterson address, according to NJ.com.
He also was stopped in 2012 in Palmyra, Pa., just east of Hershey, and also listed a Paterson address, the website reported.
After the truck sped along the bike and pedestrian paths, it plowed into a school bus, injuring two adults and two children on the bus, cops said.
Witnesses said Saipov jumped out of the truck after he plowed through the crowd and screamed “Allahu Akbar!” — “God is great” — in Arabic after the crash.
Videos from the attack posted online show Saipov dodging cars in lower Manhattan, horns beeping in the background.
Cops said he was brandishing two weapons.
“He has a gun! He has a gun!” witnesses cried.
Saipov was shot at the scene and taken into custody.
The weapons were later determined to be a pellet gun and a paint gun.
His condition was not immediately released.
“He did make a statement when he exited the vehicle,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a news conference.
He said the method of attack led police to conclude it was a terrorist act.
O’Neill did not confirm the suspect’s name. He also declined to name the hospital where Saipov was being treated.
Multiple dead after driver mows down pedestrians in Lower Manhattan
“This was an act of terror,” said Mayor de Blasio, “and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”
Authorities said Saipov does not seem to have an extensive criminal background, although he does have several traffic tickets. Reports said the FBI and NYPD were digging into his background.
Investigators believe he was acting alone, and was not part of some wider plot, according to sources.
NBC News said Saipov worked as a commercial truck driver.
Neighbors said he prayed at a mosque near the Paterson address where he may have been currently living.
President Trump described the suspect as “sick and deranged.”
“In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person,” Trump tweeted hours after the attack.
“Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”
Trump later tweeted that the Department of Homeland Security would be stepping up its vetting process.
With Jessica Chia