MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Prosecution evidence submitted at the trial of accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov shows the mangled bicycles of tourists who were mowed down on the West Street bike path, along with video of Saipov being stopped by police with gunshots.
Saipov, now 34, is charged in the Halloween Day terror attack in 2017 that targeted the bicyclists south of Houston Street, with Saipov accused of speeding into the victims with a Home Depot flatbed truck rented in Passaic, New Jersey.
The attack happened in the shadow of the Freedom Tower and September 11 Memorial. It was the first fatal terror event in New York City since the 9/11 attacks brought the Twin Towers down.
Six of the eight dead victims were tourists; five of them were friends from Argentina celebrating a high school reunion.
Cell phone video taken by horrified office workers overlooking West Street showed Saipov sprinting from the Home Depot truck, after he had allegedly smashed into a school bus near Stuyvesant High School. Police officers gave chase, as Saipov held a paint gun and a BB gun in his hands. Nine gunshots rang out, and Saipov fell to the ground with a gunshot wound to his torso.
Prosecutors submitted a white paper they said was found near the truck, with writing that made reference to the Islamic State.
The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District charged that Saipov was moved to carry out the attack by watching ISIS videos on his cell phone and took about a year to plan the violent plot. The FBI said Saipov wanted to kill as many people as he could and chose Halloween as the date of the attack because there would be more people on the street for the holiday.
Surveillance footage was entered into evidence that showed Saipov showing up at the Home Depot in Passaic on Oct. 31, 2017 and leaving with documents, after renting the flatbed for $19. He allegedly took the truck over the George Washington Bridge before heading downtown to West Street.
Prosecutors are calling for the death penalty if there is a conviction in the case, the first of its kind under the Biden administration.