Manhattan terrorist suspect identified as 29yo Uzbek native Sayfullo Saipov – reports
The suspected terrorist who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists in lower Manhattan has been identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbekistan native, law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation have told multiplesources.
A Florida driver’s license was found on Saipov when he was arrested, according to NBC News.
Saipov allegedly had a note in his truck that claimed he committed the attack on behalf of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), law enforcement told NBC News.
At a press conference Tuesday, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said that the suspect was a 29-year-old male, but did not disclose his identity.
According to police, the suspect drove a rented Home Depot truck onto a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking several people. After he hit a school bus, the suspect left his vehicle and shouted “Allahu akbar” while holding two “imitation firearms” and was shot by police officers before being taken into custody.
Saipov is reportedly receiving surgery at Bellevue Hospital and is still in police custody, according to NBC News. The Associated Press reports that he is expected to survive his injuries.
Saipov came to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010, according to NBC News. Since moving to the US, Saipov has lived in Ohio, Florida and New Jersey, where he lived with his wife and three children, according to ABC News.
Uzbekistan is a Muslim-majority country, where 96.7 percent of the population practices or holds allegiance to Islam, according to the Pew Research Center.
After the attack, SITE Intelligence Group redistributed a photo taken in August of an IS supporter displaying the logo of the terrorist organization on their phone less than 1 mile from the World Trade Center where the attack occurred.
However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said that the suspect was a “lone wolf” attacker, adding there is “no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme, but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm.”
Authorities also found either an IS flag or an image of the flag along with his note pledging allegiance to the terrorist organization, according to the New York Post.
Saipov did not have an extensive criminal background, with only four traffic tickets in his past, according to CBS News.
Saipov, who worked as a truck driver, was allegedly pulled over in Iowa and charged with a maximum hours of service violation in 2011. At the time, he was listed as living in Fort Myers, Florida, according to the Des Moines Register.
On Tuesday, the New York Post interviewed Kobiljon Matkarov, 37, a friend of Saipov, who described him as “very friendly” and a “very good guy.”
“My kids like him too, he is always playing with them. He is playing all the time,” Matkarov said.
Matkarov told the Post that Saipov worked as an Uber driver and he did not know him to have any connections to terrorist organizations.
Uber has now confirmed that Sayfullo Saipov had passed a background check and was registered with the ride-hailing service. He has now been banned from the system. Uber said it has reached out to law enforcement to aid with the investigation and is looking into Saipov's driver history.