NEW YORK – Eight people are dead and more than a dozen injured after the driver of a truck drove the wrong way down a well-trafficked bike path, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror,” he said.
The driver of a rental truck drove the wrong way down a busy bicycle path in Manhattan near the World Trade Center, killing up to six people and striking numerous others, a New York Police official said.
The driver then exited the vehicle while displaying imitation firearms and was shot by police, according to the NYPD. The suspect is in police custody and was taken to a hospital for treatment, sources at the NYPD said.
The incident is being investigated as terrorism, according to multiple law enforcement sources. Witnesses reported the suspect was yelling “Allahu Akbar,” according to four law enforcement sources.
The suspect, driving in a Home Depot rental truck, hopped a curb at West Houston Street and drove south on the bike path on the west side of West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan for several blocks, the official said.
After striking multiple people, the suspect hit a school bus and wrecked his truck, an NYPD official said. Four people were removed from the bus and they had minor injuries, the official said.
Vehicles have been used as weapons in a number of terrorist attacks in recent years, including incidents in France, and England.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo both said they are heading to the scene.
News footage showed crowds of spectators — some capturing the scene with cellphone cameras — gathered behind police lines. A white Home Depot truck with the front end smashed was also visible.
Parts of several mangled bicycles littered the popular bike path along the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, as medics tended to the wounded in the background.
Michael Corbin, was attending to a woman who slipped and fell on the sidewalk.
“The first responder to the event was a counterterrorism officer,” he said. “We were attending to the victim, getting her onto a stretcher and, at that moment, we heard gunshots. I recalled hearing five gunshots in quick succession and immediately the officer … left to investigate the situation from the direction we heard the noise coming from.”
Another witness, Ramon Cruz, described what he saw.
“What I saw was that the driver — he didn’t look like he was bleeding,” said Cruz. “He was dragging his foot. He looks frustrated, panicked, confused. People are running past me, saying, ‘He’s got a gun. He’s got a gun.’ I didn’t see any gun.
“It was a white pickup truck. He looked pretty bad without bleeding or anything like that. I didn’t see him hit anybody. All I heard was the impact of a crash.”