By COLLEEN LONG and MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press
MANHATTAN (AP) — The Uzbek immigrant accused of using a truck to mow people down along a bike path, killing eight, did it in the name of the Islamic State group, police said Wednesday.
Investigators, meanwhile, were at the hospital bedside of 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, working to extract information about the attack Tuesday afternoon near the World Trade Center memorial that also left 12 people injured, a law enforcement official said.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saipov was lucid after surgery for wounds suffered when he was shot by police.
"He did this in the name of ISIS," John Miller, deputy police commissioner for intelligence, said at a news conference, citing handwritten notes left by Saipov in his rented Home Depot pickup.
Miller said the notes, written in Arabic, essentially said the Islamic State "would endure forever."
In the past few years, the Islamic State has been exhorting followers to use vehicles or other close-at-hand means of killing people in their home countries. England, France and Germany have seen deadly vehicle attacks in the past year or so.
"It appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks," Miller said. "He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to its followers on how to carry out such an attack."
Miller said Saipov had never been the subject of a New York police investigation but appears to have some links to people who have been investigated.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the suspect was a "depraved coward" who tried to create terror.
"He was radicalized domestically," he said on CNN. "It's not the first time. It's a global phenomenon now."
In a number of recent extremist attacks around the world, the assailants were found to have been inspired but not actually directed by the Islamic State, and in some cases never even made contact with the group.
On the morning after the bloodshed, city leaders vowed New York would be not intimidated, and they commended New Yorkers for going ahead with Halloween festivities on Wednesday night.
They also said Sunday's New York City Marathon, with 50,000 participants and some 2 million spectators anticipated, will go on as scheduled.
"We will not be cowed. We will not be thrown off by anything," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.