Maddening, infuriating, awful, thoughts, words pile up and out when you hear about a terror attack. For us the West Side Highway terror attack hits home. We walk from our house in the Village to a beautiful path along the Hudson River down to the Battery and the beginning of Manhattan island. When we ride our bikes south, we ride on the portion the terrorist targeted.
Crumpled bicycles lay on the path just below Houston Street where, say news reports, Sayfullo Saipov from Uzbekistan drove his truck aimed at bikers heading toward him. Sally had dismounted her bicycle and stood near the police tape upset and bewildered. “My daughter is locked down in Stuyvesant High School. I hope she’s okay. I hope everyone’s okay.” But all was not okay.
The 29-year-old killer, reported to have a Florida driver’s license and perhaps living in New Jersey, drove a rented Home Depot truck at high speed for about 15 blocks on the narrow path. He mowed down people in his way almost right to the door of Stuyvesant High School, where he rammed into a school bus injuring two two children and two adults.
The driver then came out of the truck shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.” He brandished what appeared to be two handguns. A uniformed police officer shot him in the abdomen. Police recovered a pellet gun and a paint ball gun.
Sally didn’t know that the NYPD had reported eight people killed and at least a dozen injured and I didn’t have the heart to tell her.
At a late afternoon news conference Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neal stood side by side grim faced. Mayor de Blasio said, “A very painful day in our city….This was an act of terror, a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.” He said, “We know that this action was intended to break our spirit. But we also know New Yorkers are strong. New Yorkers are resilient and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence an action to intimidate us.”
The killing spree ended within a few blocks of the site of the World Trade Tower and the memorial to those killed on September 11, 2001.
Commissioner O’Neal called it a, “A tragedy of the greatest magnitude.”
The wounded suspect was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.