Investigators Scour Suspect’s Background After New York Truck Attack

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NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators are working to determine what led a pickup truck driver to plow down people on a riverfront bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight.

New York’s mayor called Tuesday’s attack “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”

The driver is in critical condition after police shot him in the abdomen.

Authorities said after crashing the truck, he brandished air guns and yelled what witnesses said was “Allahu Akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is great.”

Officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified Sayfullo Saipov as the attacker and said he is 29 and originally from Uzbekistan.

He came to the U.S. legally in 2010, the officials said, and it is believed that he lived first in Ohio after his arrival.

An acquaintance, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, said Saipov briefly stayed with his family in a Cincinnati suburb upon immigrating.

“He always used to work,” Abdusamatova told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “He wouldn’t go to parties or anything. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work.”

Authorities said Saipov had a Florida driver’s license and some public records showed an address for him at a Tampa apartment complex.

Residents at that complex said FBI agents came by Tuesday evening and conducted interviews.

Michael Roberts, 30, an overnight shift worker, said he was asleep when the agents showed up at about 5:30 p.m. but that they interviewed his cousin. He said both he and his cousin had moved in only a week ago and had never heard of Saipov.

A friend who met Saipov in Florida, Kobiljon Matkarov, told The New York Times and the New York Post that he seemed like a “very good guy.”

“My kids like him too. He is always playing with them,” Matkarov told the Post.

Officials said Saipov was living recently in New Jersey, where he allegedly rented a Home Depot pickup truck an hour before driving it onto the bike path.

The ride-hailing company Uber said Saipov passed its background check and drove for the service for six months, making more than 1,400 trips.

The company said it banned him from the service after the attack. It said it was in touch with the FBI and offered its assistance and that it was reviewing Saipov’s driving history but found no related safety reports.

One of the people killed in the attack is from Belgium and five others were from Argentina.

The Argentine foreign ministry identified its citizens killed in the attack as Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, and Hernan Ferruchi.

The ministry also says one of its citizens, Martin Ludovico Marro, is recovering from injuries at Manhattan’s Presbyterian Hospital.

The victims were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation from the Polytechnic School of Rosario, Argentina.

The government gave its condolences and said that all Argentines are sharing in this terrible moment of profound sadness.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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