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Tragedy and Carnage on the Westside Highway

Johnny Giraldo, Staff Writer

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It was a cool Halloween day in the lower West side of Manhattan.  A beautiful blue sky and the high was 57 degrees. People were out and about enjoying the day. The west side highway was busy as is usual…until the sound of passing cars and bike rides turn to panic and screams.

At approximately at 3:04 pm, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year Uzbek national who came to the United States in 2010, took his white Chevy Silverado when he was on Houston Street and took his rental truck and decided to drive down the West Side highway bike path.

Little farther down the path, a group people from a 1987 graduation party from the Polytechnic School of Rosario, Argentina, where all on a U.S. trip in New York. Little did they know that a serene bike ride through the West Side Highway would come to an abrupt and fatal end.

Eight people were killed and almost a dozen injured when the 29-year-old man with ties to ISIS in the rented pickup truck drove down the busy bicycle path and decided to end the carnage near the World Trade Center by hitting a school bus that was carrying kids at the time and injuring two students.

Then, he grabbed a paintball and pellet gun, leaving behind a note in Arabic, pledging his allegiance to ISIS and then decided to start running through the middle of a busy NYC highway, yelling “ALLAHU AKBAR”!  (“God is great” in Arabic.)

As he ran through the middle of the busy street, people in the World Trade Center overpass looked on with horror as they recorded the incident as it unfolded.

The first responder to act was NYPD officer Ryan Nash, a Long Island native from Medford and a five-year NYPD veteran assigned to the 1st Precinct. He fired the shot that struck the suspect in the abdomen. The carnage was over, and Saipov was caught alive.

Saipov, who is recovering from his injuries at Bellevue Hospital, waived his Miranda rights verbally and spoke to law enforcement officials about the attack.  Saipov said he was was motivated to carry out the attack after watching a video featuring ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asking what Muslims in the US were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.

It is also noted that Saipov had asked during his interview with authorities if he could display the ISIS flag in his hospital room. He told them that “he felt good” about what he had done.

Saipov is facing charges on providing support to the terrorist group ISIS, violence, vehicular manslaughter and destruction of motor vehicles. There are now rumors of him facing the death penalty.

These moments show that we must stick together and never lose unity. We must stay strong in times of tragedy.

 

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