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Multiple fatalities reported in incident near World Trade Center

by Tess Owen
Oct 31 2017, 8:20pm

At least eight people are dead and a dozen more injured after a 29-year-old man allegedly plowed a van into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in downtown Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo both described the incident as a terrorist attack, and Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the suspect exited the vehicle wielding a paintball gun and a BB gun, and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or, “God is great.”

Police on the scene shot the suspect in the abdomen. He’s being treated at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and is expected to live according to news reports.

“Let me be clear: This was an act of terror,” the mayor said. “A particularly cowardly act of terror.”

Cuomo, describing it as a “lone-wolf” attack, said there was no evidence connecting it to a wider plot. But he cautioned that security will increase around New York. Police officials said at this point Tuesday evening’s annual Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village would go ahead as planned.

At around 3:05 p.m., the man — identified by multiple news outlets as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov — drove a rented Home Depot flatbed truck onto the West Side Highway bike path and mowed into pedestrians and cyclists for more than 15 blocks. When the vehicle reached the intersection of Houston and Chambers, it collided with a school bus, coming to a stop just a few blocks from the World Trade Center. At that point, police officials said, the driver got out of the vehicle pointing the two fake guns, and confronted an NYPD officer.

Six people died on the scene, and two more were transported to hospitals where they were later pronounced dead.

NBC reports the suspect had a Florida license and rented the truck — which Home Depot offers for $19 for the first 75 minutes, adding $5 for each additional 15 minutes — somewhere outside of New York City. An unnamed official told the New York Times the suspect rented it in New Jersey.

Video from the scene shows at least two people collapsed near overturned bikes on the path, which runs adjacent to the highway. Victims could be seen for 15 blocks, the Times reports.

President Donald Trump has tweeted about the incident.

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