Tribeca, Manhattan- Yesterday, a horrific scene unfolded as a man drove a truck down the West Side Highway bike path, hitting multiple bicyclists. Eight have been confirmed dead, and nearly a dozen more remain in the hospital with serious injuries.
The incident started just after 3 PM when 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic entered the bike path at W. Houston Street in a rented Home Depot truck and then drove south for nearly a mile on the bike path, finally coming to a stop at Chambers St. where he hit an occupied school bus, according to police.
Video posted on social media, taken by someone who reportedly witnessed the aftermath of the crash, shows a bus at Chambers St. with one side badly battered. Also in the video is a shot of two children sitting next to each, one appearing to be unconscious.
Officials say that two students and two adults were on the bus. One of the students was reported to be critically injured.
After hitting the bus, Habibullaevic exited the truck and ran out onto the West Side Highway, wielding what appeared to be two guns, according to NYPD Police Commissioner Jame O’Neil.
An officer from NYPD’s 1st Precinct, who was nearby when the incident unfolded, observed Habibullaevic running with the guns and told him to “drop them”. When he did not comply, the officer fired once and struck him, according to police officials.
Police later determined that the guns were a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
After being shot, Habibullaevic was transported to the hospital by FDNY EMS, where officials say that he is in stable condition.
Six of the eight people who died were pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials. Ten others remain in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital.
Based on the preliminary evidence, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that this incident appears to an “an of terror.”
“We know that this action was intended to break our spirit,” de Blasio said. “We have been tested before as a city very near the site of today’s tragedy and New Yorkers do not give in the face of this kind of actions.”
Yesterday’s attack resulted in more deaths than another one in the city since the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
Reporting and photos by Brendan Walsh.