A man drove a truck into pedestrians in the lower west side in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. Eight people were killed while 11 were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The man driving the truck was a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, who was shot and injured by police and is currently in the hospital under arrest. The man plowed through pedestrians in a bike lane along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan and eventually came to a halt after smashing into a school bus. He exited his vehicle with a gun and was heard yelling, “God is great” in Arabic.
The man came to the United States in 2010 and obtained a visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery program. This program offers visas to people from parts of the world that have relatively few immigrants in the United States, such as Uzbekistan. The State Department offers 50,000 visas each year, with most visas going to people from African nations. Upon learning that the attacker gained entry to the United States through this program, Trump called for its immediate termination. Trump said he would also consider sending the attacker to Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military prison, which imprisons terrorists.
In his response to the attack, Trump called the suspect a “very sick and deranged person,” which were the same words he used to describe the Las Vegas shooter last month. He also promised to step up the border security program to ensure ISIS does not “return, or enter, our country.” However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear to reporters that the suspect was radicalized domestically, and was not sent on a mission to carry out an attack in the United States.
Officials are calling it a terrorist attack, but Governor Cuomo does not believe there are connections to a “wider scheme.” He said that the attack was “the action of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death, and the resulting terror.” It was the deadliest terror attack in New York City since the September 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
After investigating the scene, notes were recovered which indicated the suspect’s allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. Police also suspect that the man had been planning the attack for a number of weeks.
The New York police commissioner, James O’Neill, told citizens of New York to expect an increased police presence throughout the city due to Sunday’s marathon.