Eight dead as truck runs down cyclists in suspected terror attack

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The FBI is treating a truck attack in New York, in which six people died and 15 were injured, as an act of terrorism.

An attacker drove a rented truck down a bike path in Manhattan a few blocks from the site of the World Trace Center memorial.

According to witnesses people on bikes were left scattered on the path and the attacker then rammed a school bus.

Some witnesses said he then got out of the truck screaming “Allahu Akbar”. He wielded two guns, which police later said were fake.

Witnesses said they initially thought the attack was a Halloween prank.

The suspect was chased by police who shot him in the leg and arrested him. They said they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the attack.

Detectives have been searching the rented Home Depot truck for explosives.

A man who was riding in a taxi along the West Side Highway near Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan said he saw several people bleeding people on the ground.

New York City Police Officers respond to report of gunfire along West Street near the pedestrian bridge at Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan in New York Credit: Martin Speechley/NYPD via AP

One witness told the Telegraph: “I heard five shots and went over to window and saw people running around. Police and ambulance already at scene.”

The incident happened in the area of Chambers and West Streets in the TriBeCa neighbourhood at 3.15pm.

One witness said on Twitter: “Jesus! A car just ran over 2 people and then crashed into a school bus. I see two dead bodies and bikes on the floor destroyed.”

Laith Bahlouli, 14, a student at a nearby high school said: “What happened was there was a car crash, he came out of one of the cars. He had two guns. We thought the guns were fake and it was a Halloween prank.

“We thought it was a Halloween thing. He started running around the highway. There was another guy in a green shirt that was chasing him around. I heard four to six gunshots – everybody starts running.”

Emergency crews attend the scene of an alleged shooting incident on West Street in Manhattan, New York Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

A woman is aided by first responders after sustaining injury on a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Alif Rahman, 14, another high school student, said he saw two bodies. Video from the scene showed at least two people lying apparently dead in the road.

At the scene the rented Home Depot truck was badly damaged along with two mangled bikes. Police began examining the rental truck for explosives.

Another witness Tawhid Kabir, 20,said: “I thought it was Halloween or something. I saw the gun and I realised it was serious.”

Witness Michael Corbin said: “We all heard the gunfire. I heard distinctly five shots in quick succession.” Another man told the New York Daily News he heard 15 shots.

A motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and struck several people on Tuesday police and witnesses said Credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Mayor Bill de Blasio was briefed on the situation and heading to the scene. He said there was no continuing threat after the suspect was shot.

In a statement the New York Police Department said: “A vehicle entered the pedestrian and bike path a few blocks north of Chambers Street.

“The vehicle struck multiple people on the path. There are several fatalities and numerous people injured.

“The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms and was shot by officers. The suspect is in custody.”

#Breaking: Shooting in lower Manhattan. West side highway is shut down #NYshootingpic.twitter.com/ZYrgDvTXNQ

— Nico Maounis (@nicomaounis) October 31, 2017

More to follow.

9:29PM

New York Police Department press conference taking place

Eight confirmed dead, more than a dozen are injured. 

The incident has been described as a “tragedy of the greatest magnitude”.

A single officer who was near the incident when it happened is being praised for stopping the “carnage”. 

9:16PM

Eyewitness: ‘There was no screaming, people were in shock’

Jamal Lewis, a 17-year-old student who witnessed the attack told the Telegraph: “I was walking down West street and heard a loud noise behind me. I saw the white pickup truck run over two cyclists and carried on. People were around their bodies, but they were dead. There was no screaming, people were in shock.”

9:11PM

Here is a map showing where the incident took place

The point marked is roughly where the white Home Depot truck crashed. It is close to the World Trade Center memorial. 

There are reports that the truck had driven up to 20 blocks along a bike path before reaching this point, heading south. 

Where the incident occurred

9:05PM

Driver shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, according to claims

The phrase, which means ‘God is Great’ in Arabic, was said by the suspected attacker during the incident, it has been claimed. 

The reports are said to be the reason that the FBI and NYPD are now treating the incident as a terror attack. 

8:49PM

Incident being treated as a terror attack

Reuters has this:

The striking of pedestrians by a vehicle in lower Manhattan on Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack, two U.S. government sources said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the New York City police department in investigating the incident, the sources said.

8:45PM

Witness accounts are beginning to come in

A man who was riding in an Uber along the West Side Highway near Chambers Street said he saw several bleeding people on the ground after a truck struck several people. Another witness said the truck had also collided with a small bus and one other vehicle.

Tom Gay, a school photographer, was on Warren Street and heard people saying there was an accident. He went down to West Street and a woman came around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”

Gay told Associated Press that he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running southbound on West Street holding a gun. He said there was a heavyset man pursuing him.

He said he heard five or six shots and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.

Uber driver Chen Yi said he saw a truck plow into people on a popular bike path adjacent to the West Side Highway. He said he then heard seven to eight shots and then police pointing a gun at a man kneeling on the pavement.

“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” Yi said.

His passenger, Dmitry Metlitsky, said he also saw police standing near a man who was on his knees with his hands up, and another man bleeding on the ground nearby. He said the truck had also collided with a small school bus and one other vehicle.

8:42PM

New York Police Department statement

The New York Police Department’s official Twitter account gave a “preliminary” account of what happened on Tuesday afternoon. 

 “Earlier a vehicle entered the West St. pedestrian/bike path a few blocks north of Chambers St,” it read. 

“The vehicle struck multiple people on the path. There are several fatalities and numerous people injured.

“The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD.

“The suspect is in custody. This is preliminary, more information to follow.”





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