NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official says that witnesses told police that the man who drove a truck onto a bike path in New York City, killing eight people, and injuring about a dozen others, shouted "Allahu akbar," a phrase often used by radical Islamic terrorists, which translates to, “Allah is great” or “Allah is greater.”
Police Commissioner James O'Neill was asked at a news conference whether the suspect shouted the phrase, which means "God is great" in Arabic, or something like it. O'Neill replied, "Yeah. He did make a statement when he exited the vehicle," though he declined to elaborate.
O'Neill says the method of attack and the suspect's statement enabled officials "to label this a terrorist event." He says the 29-year-old man entered the bike path and drove south, hitting pedestrians and cyclists. He then hit a school bus, injuring at least two adults. The man exited the vehicle brandishing a paintball gun and a pellet gun. He was then shot in the abdomen by a police officer and is now hospitalized.
New York's mayor has labeled the attack a "cowardly act of terror." President Trump says in a tweet, "In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person." and adds, "NOT IN THE U.S.A.!" Vice President Mike Pence says those responsible for the attack "must be held accountable."
Associated Press writer Colleen Long in New York contributed