At Least 8 People Dead, More Than A Dozen Injured In New York City Vehicle Attack

Oct 31, 2017
Originally published on October 31, 2017 11:12 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now we're going to turn to the latest that we're learning about what's being described as an act of terror in New York City this afternoon. Police say a man in a rented truck drove down a busy bicycle path, and at least eight people are dead. Here's New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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BILL DE BLASIO: 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 act meant to intimidate us. We have been tested before as a city very near the site of today's tragedy. And New Yorkers do not give in in the face of these kinds of actions.

SHAPIRO: President Trump has also tweeted, in NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely - then in all caps - not in the USA.

NPR's Colin Dwyer is following this and joins us now. Hi, Colin.

COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Tell us more about what we learned from this news conference where the mayor and the police commissioner spoke.

DWYER: Well, of course this is an evolving situation. But the information that we know now is, as you said, at least people - at least eight people dead, more than a dozen injured. This was after a rented truck jumped onto a bicycle path, striking several individuals. This was a - and this was a 29-year-old male who after colliding into a school bus left the vehicle, brandishing two firearms which were later revealed to be fake weapons.

SHAPIRO: This is a pattern that we have seen other attackers use. Do we have any information about whether there is a nexus to terrorism?

DWYER: We do have the knowledge that, according to Bill de Blasio, according to the information that they know now, this is an act of terror. He called it a cowardly act of terror. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo actually added that there is not any further act of terror connected with this.

SHAPIRO: So police have said that they are not looking for another suspect. The commissioner at the news conference also said the statement made by the suspect when he exited the vehicle was consistent with a terrorist attack. We know that the suspect was shot and is now in police custody. Can you tell us about the scene there in Lower Manhattan right now?

DWYER: It is a swarm of police vehicles. It is a situation that has been a very chaotic one. In fact the school in that area was on lockdown for a little bit. And police are - now have the scene lockdown.

SHAPIRO: We should say that because this is an unfolding situation, some of the reports that we may get early on may or may not be correct. And we're going to update everybody with the latest as we learn it. There have been reports that after driving for almost a mile, this vehicle was stopped by another vehicle, perhaps a school bus. What can you tell us about how this unfolded?

DWYER: Well, at about 3 p.m., this vehicle drove down the bike path, collided with the school bus. After that point, the 29-year-old male left the vehicle and brandished two firearms, at which point the officer on the scene fired on the suspect and shot him in the abdomen.

SHAPIRO: And so at 5 p.m. on a beautiful fall day like this...

DWYER: Right.

SHAPIRO: ...On a pedestrian and bicycle path, there are going to be a lot of people, not only tourists but commuters and people who are trying to get home from work.

DWYER: Right. It was a beautiful fall day. And that was actually one thing that Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned. It was a beautiful day. And these pedestrians on this bike path just left to go enjoy that day. And instead, many of them are injured, and several others are killed.

SHAPIRO: We'll have more reports on this situation as the evening unfolds from eyewitnesses, from journalists on the scene and of course from leaders in New York City and American leaders here in Washington, D.C. Colin Dwyer, thanks very much.

DWYER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.