New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commended first responders and called Tuesday "a very painful day in our city" at a news conference, just hours after a truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on the bike path along Manhattan's West Side Highway.
At least 8 people were killed in the rampage. Eleven more were hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
The suspect was shot and injured by an NYPD police officer and is in custody.
The incident was classified as a terrorist attack, based on statements the suspect made to police, city officials say.
Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo each recognized first responders in their remarks at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
“I want to commend the response of our NYPD officer…who stopped the carnage," O'Neill 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…We have been tested before as a city at a site very near today’s tragedy.”
Officials classified it as a lone-wolf incident, with Governor Cuomo saying there was "no evidence to suggest a wider plot." He urged New Yorkers to go about their business but stay vigilant.
"The truth is New York is an international symbol of freedom and democracy, and we are proud of it," Cuomo said. "But that makes us a target."
He added that there will be an increase in security in and around New York City.
The suspect was identified as 29-year-old As Sayfullo Saipov from Tampa, Florida.
He was allegedly driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck when he entered the bike path at Houston Street at about 3:05 p.m.
Saipov proceeded to drive down the path, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians for about a mile until striking a bus at Chambers Street.
At Chambers, he exited the truck, brandishing two handguns, which were later identified as a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
There, he was shot in the stomach and arrested by a uniformed NYPD officer.
“What happened was there was a car crash… he came out of one of the cars. He had two guns. He was running around Chambers and somebody started to chase him,” said Laith Bahlouli, 14, a Stuyvesant student. “I heard four to six gunshots – everybody starts running.”
The bike path on West Street is separated from the motor vehicle lanes.
The scene was under control by about 4 p.m.
People were advised to avoid the area of Chambers/West Street.
NYPD sources report FDR Drive was closed from 34th all the way downtown.
NYPD Bomb Squad cleared a suspicious package on Chambers St. They then moved on to looking through garbage containers as a precaution.
NYPD briefly locked down the West Side Highway.
Photo: Getty Images