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8 killed after Uzbekistan native drives truck through bike lane in Manhattan

October 31, 2017 - 12:05am

NEW YORK — Eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon in a terrorist attack as a rental truck plowed through helpless riders on a lower Manhattan bike path, officials said.

The suspect, 29-year-old Uzbekistan native Sayfullo Saipov, yelled “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running the riders down from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway white pickup.

Saipov was arrested after a police officer shot him in the right hip following a crash between the truck and a school bus.

Saipov, who came to the U.S. in 2010 and lived in Paterson, New Jersey, was waving a paintball gun and a pellet gun when Officer Ryan Nash arrived. The cop opened fire when the suspect refused to drop his weapons.

“This was an act of terror,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a somber One Police Plaza news conference. “And a particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians.”

The truck jumped the curb near Houston Street at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists and pedestrians, officials said. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.

“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said eyewitness Eugene Duffy, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West Street. “It was wrong.”

The off-duty chef watched in disbelief as the driver of the speeding truck ran down a pair of CitiBike riders about 50 feet apart, catching both from behind on the busy bike path alongside the Hudson River. There were visible tire tracks on the bodies of the two victims as the truck continued to carve a path of carnage through the neighborhood, he said.

Six bikers were dead at the scene, while two other victims died later at Manhattan hospitals. The heavily traveled bike path is used by bicyclists, joggers and walkers.

“I thought it was terrorism,” Duffy said. “That’s the first thing that crossed my mind.”

The deadly incident was reminiscent of similar terrorist attacks in London, Barcelona and Berlin.

The truck was apparently rented from a Home Depot in Jersey City, New Jersey, making it likely the driver came through the Holland Tunnel. Home Depot, in a statement, said it was cooperating fully with the investigation.

Saipov’s arrest followed a crash involving the rented truck and a school bus on West Street, a few blocks north of the World Trade Center. Several eyewitnesses initially through it was some sort of Halloween prank.

Four people on the bus, two adults and two students, were injured and taken to Bellevue Hospital. Authorities said another seven people were injured, bringing the total to 11 — all were expected to live.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said early indications were that the unidentified killer was acting alone, with “no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme.”

On Twitter, President Donald Trump called it “another attack by a very sick and deranged person” and declared, “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

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