In a Wednesday evening press conference, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim announced charges filed against Sayfullo Saipov for the Islamic terror attack carried out on Tuesday evening in New York that killed eight people.
Kim described Saipov as a “man consumed by hate and a twisted ideology.” He recounted the events of Tuesday afternoon when the suspect allegedly killed eight people and injured at least a dozen more using a rented Home Depot pickup truck.
The Acting U.S. Attorney detailed two counts of terrorism filed against Saipov — “material support of a terrorist organization” (Islamic State/ISIS) and “violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for the safety of human life that resulted in multiple deaths.” Kim again spoke of Saipov using the truck to run people down on a walkway and bike path, hitting a school bus before leaving the truck, yelling “Allahu Akbar” while brandishing a paintball gun and a pellet gun, and ultimately being shot in the abdomen by a police officer.
Kim stated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has compiled evidence that Saipov carried out his attack “in support of ISIS.” He detailed some of that evidence laid out in the court documents. One piece of evidence was a note found inside the pickup truck “that read, in part, no god, but god and Mohammed is his prophet and Islamic supplication, it will endure, a phrase commonly used to refer to ISIS.”
Cell phones were found in a bag that Saipov was carrying. A court-authorized search of those phones revealed “thousands of ISIS-related images” and about 90 videos. Those videos “depicting, among other things, ISIS fighters killing prisoners by running over them with a tank, beheading them and shooting them in the face.”
Saipov allegedly admitted that he was inspired to commit the attack through ISIS videos, had been planning the attack for two months, and rented a truck to practice the turns he would make in the Islamic terror attack.
The U.S. Attorney stated during the press conference that Saipov could still be declared an enemy combatant even though they have issued charges against him. He stated that the status of “enemy combatant” is not determined by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, calling it “way above [his] pay grade.”
Bill Sweeney, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI also addressed reporters. He said that, while the charges filed were significant, the investigation was not yet over. He updated reporters that an individual that had been sought in connection with the attack was no longer being sought. Later in the press conference, Sweeney clarified that this individual has been located.
New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner John Miller told reporters that the notes found in the rental truck Saipov drove were written in Arabic and essentially said that “the Islamic State would endure forever.”
Miller added of Saipov, “We don’t know his path of radicalization yet.”
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