Mayor says incident was being treated as ‘a particularly cowardly act of terror’, and New York police say the suspect was shot by police and is now in custody
Eight people were killed and over “a dozen more” were injured after a truck drove through a bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, said New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor said the incident was being treated as an act of terror, “a particularly cowardly act of terror”. He said an on duty officer stopped the attacker.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) said a 29-year-old suspect exited the vehicle displaying “imitation firearms” and was shot by police. He is in custody and a paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the scene.
Police said the truck drove south after entering a pedestrian and bicycle path, where it struck multiple people. The vehicle also struck a school bus, injuring two adults and two children.
“It is a very painful day in our city,” de Blasio said.
Officials said additional resources were being deployed around the city, where children would be on the streets late into the evening to celebrate the Halloween holiday.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said these resources were being deployed out of an “abundance of caution” and that there was no indication of additional threats.
Donald Trump tweeted about the incident: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”
Crumpled bicycles were strewn across the path, which runs along the Hudson River, and a damaged school bus was at the scene.
Tom Gay, a school photographer, told the Associated Press 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. Gay 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.
Ezequiel Gonzalez, 18, works at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, which is next to the bicycle path and was locked down after the incident. He told the Guardian he crossed a footbridge that overlooks the bike path and saw “all this debris everywhere” near what looked like a body covered by a sheet.
John Williams, 22, described a “smashed up” white pickup truck, with the logo for hardware store Home Depot on it, near the scene. He said he saw one man on the ground surrounded by police and could smell smoke in the air at the scene.
Williams said he was at a skate park near the bike path when he heard five to ten gunshots. “At the time I was really just concerned that there was a man running around with a gun I wasn’t too concerned for myself but just the safety for everyone in the city,” Williams said.
Flashing ambulances and police cars overwhelmed the scene after the suspect was stopped, a few blocks north of the World Trade Center memorial.
Police completely blocked off the bike path, but dozens of young people from the nearby high school and college crowded outside police lines.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said he had been briefed on the incident and was traveling to the scene. New York governor Andrew Cuomo also said he was heading to the scene.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president had been briefed on the incident “and will be continually updated as more details are known”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected,” Sanders said.
One early report suggested that the truck drove at least 10 blocks. The suspect was seen on one video clip running through traffic carrying two weapons, possibly fakes, including a paintball gun.
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