NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed terrorism charges against the suspect of Tuesday’s truck attack in New York City (NYC), which left eight people dead and a dozen others injured.
Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim announced the charges at a news conference in New York.
Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect now in custody, faces two charges, namely, providing material support for a terrorist organization, specifically ISIS, and a federal charge of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for human life.
If convicted, he could face life imprisonment or death penalty, according to Kim.
The suspect, a Uzbek immigrant, had been planning what is called the worst terror attack on NYC since Sept. 11, 2001, “for a number of weeks,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a press conference earlier in the day.
“He did this in the name of ISIS,” Miller said, citing some notes recovered at the scene.
On Tuesday afternoon, Saipov plowed a pickup truck down a busy bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing 8 people and injuring 12 others. He was shot by police and then sent to a hospital.
Reports said that he shouted “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic.
“He appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack,” Miller said.
The investigation into the attack is “in its infancy,” and investigators do not yet have all the answers, NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill told the press conference.
Of the eight killed, five were from Argentina, one from Germany and the remaining two from the United States, according to FDNY commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, who was also present at the press conference.
Of those injured, three have been released from the hospital, and four are critically injured, but in stable condition, Nigro said, adding the others are seriously injured.
The deadly attack seemed not to have daunted New Yorkers, evident in a large crowd showing up in all sorts of costumes in an annual Halloween parade in Manhattan.
“We will not be cowed. We will not be thrown off by anything,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference.
He added that Sunday’s NYC marathon would go on as scheduled, which would be protected.” Xinhua-northboundasia.com