A picture and its story: A shooting in Seattle

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Stunned protesters surround a car that has driven into their ranks. A man is lying on the ground nearby. Another man exits the driver’s side of the vehicle brandishing a gun. The protesters back away from him and he runs off and melts into the crowd as medics rush to help the wounded man.

The dramatic scenes of a drive-by shooting on the streets of Seattle were captured by Reuters photographer Lindsey Wasson during protests against police brutality and racism that have rocked the city – and many other places across the United States – in recent days.

Wasson, a Seattle native, has been covering the protests in Washington state’s largest city since May 31.

She took the series of pictures on Sunday evening from the window of a local newspaper that has offices overlooking a street that became a flashpoint.

A combination picture shows Dan Gregory appearing to try and enter the vehicle of a man who tried to drive through the crowd during a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, (top) and Gregory falling back and tended to by medics after being shot in the arm (bottom), in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

“I had maybe just stepped to the main window, and I was looking over the crowd and seeing what was going on. I heard a scream and commotion and rushed to the dirty side window to photograph what was happening in a side street,” she said.

“The whole sequence probably took a minute, it happened very quickly.”

Video taken by others at the scene show that the man who was injured fell to the ground after he appeared to lean into the car. The shooter handed himself over to the police shortly after the incident.

“Suspect in custody, gun recovered after man drove vehicle into crowd at 11th and Pine. Seattle Fire transported victim to hospital,” Seattle Police wrote in a tweet.

A police report of the incident obtained by a local NPR radio station named the injured man as Daniel Gregory and said he had a gunshot wound to the arm.

A GoFundMe page set up for Gregory said he was recovering in the hospital. Reuters could not immediately reach Gregory for comment.

The demonstrations were sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis two weeks ago, and have evolved into a movement for racial equality and reforms to police departments across the country.

For Wasson, the protests in her home town have been of a size and intensity unlike others she has seen before.

“It has been very odd to see something like this where you grew up. What feels different this time is the scale and how sustained it’s been. I’ve never seen it happen for this long, this extended energy and purpose,” she said.

The majority of her coverage of the protests over the last week has been of more peaceful moments, said Wasson.

At those times, she has focused on how she will tell the story. But it is also important for a photographer on the ground to read the situation and be aware of exit routes if needed, she added.

In this case, she had an unusually high vantage point that gave her the perfect view. Taking photos through glass is never ideal, because of the challenges related to reflection. How the images turn out depends on the light and how close you can get, said Wasson.

“It’s not ideal but at that particular moment it was the only thing available to me.”

(Reporting by Greg Scruggs and Rosalba O’Brien; Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Man drives car into Seattle protest crowd, shoots bystander: police

Reuters) – A man drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Sunday, then shot and wounded a demonstrator who confronted him as he came to a stop, according to police and eyewitness video.

Seattle police said firefighters took the man who was shot to the hospital and that he was in stable condition. No one else was injured, the police said.

Photojournalist Alex Garland helps apply a tourniquet to the arm of a gunshot victim after a man tried to drive through a crowd and shot one man during a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

The suspect was seen in the video exiting his car as protesters began to surround it. He brandished what appeared to be a gun, dashed through the crowd and turned himself over to police.

The incident was in contrast to the mostly peaceful weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd last month while in Minneapolis police custody.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Germany tightens carnival security after driver with ‘dead’ expression injures 60

By Joseph Nasr

VOLKMARSEN, Germany (Reuters) – Germany increased security at some carnival processions on Tuesday after a local man plowed his car into a parade in the western German town of Volkmarsen, injuring around 60 people, including at least 18 children.

The incident on Monday shook Germans still struggling to take in last week’s racist gun attack on two bars in the town of Hanau which left 11 people dead.

The driver was detained at the carnival on suspicion of attempted homicide and was being treated for his own injuries.

An emergency responder said bystanders had punched the man while he tried to choke her as she leaned into the car to remove the key.

“He didn’t say a word. He looked at you empty and dead and seemed so satisfied,” Lea-Sophie Schloemer told Welt television. “It was really unnerving how satisfied he seemed.”

The prosecutors’ spokesman said the driver had not yet been in a fit state to be questioned, but was not drunk at the time of the incident. Initial tests for alcohol were negative but that was not a final assessment and there were as yet no results from the drug test.

The motive was still unclear. “We are investigating all possibilities,” he said.

He said earlier there was no sign the investigation would be handed to national prosecutors, suggesting they did not see a political motive.

While some carnival processions in the state of Hesse, home to Volkmarsen, were canceled, others were due to take place in the region on Tuesday. A police spokesman said security would be intensified.

Rose Monday is the height of the carnival season in Catholic areas of Germany, especially in the Rhineland where tens of thousands of people dress up, drink alcohol and line the streets to watch decorated floats that often mock public figures.

Prosecutors said there was no concrete reason to think the risk of attacks at parades had increased, but they urged organizers to review their security arrangements and adjust them if necessary.

Security at public events in Germany has been tightened since a Tunisian man with Islamist militant ties plowed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016, killing 12 people. He was later shot dead by Italian police after fleeing.

LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES

A police spokesman said he could not rule out that some of the injured in Volkmarsen were in a life-threatening condition.

Police had detained the driver, a 29-year-old German from the town who had been driving a silver Mercedes car, and he would appear before an investigating magistrate as soon as his condition allowed, state prosecutors said.

“There are so far no indications of politically-motivated criminality,” Bild newspaper cited an investigator as saying.

“But we think that the perpetrator acted with intent, and that psychological problems may have played a role,” the investigator added.

Prosecutors confirmed that a second man had been detained at the scene on Monday and was accused of filming the incident. The spokesman said prosecutors were investigating whether the man had links to the driver, including checking phone records.

The street where the incident happened in the center of the small town was still cordoned off by police on Tuesday and several stores in the area were closed. Residents were in shock.

“It’s terrible. I don’t know how somebody could do this, especially to children,” said 58-year-old Rainer Bellmann.

Locals told Reuters that police had searched two homes in the town, including one apartment near to the scene that a police officer said was the home of relatives of the man.

(Additional reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker in Frankfurt, Michelle Martin and Reuters Television; editing by Philippa Fletcher; Writing by Madeline Chambers and Emma Thomasson; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Philippa Fletcher)

Driver shot dead after ramming car into Israeli civilians in West Bank

A car is seen at the scene of what Israeli military said is a car-ramming attack near the settlement of Elazar in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian driver they said had carried out a car-ramming attack on Friday that injured two Israeli civilians in the occupied West Bank, one of them critically.

Reuters journalists at the scene saw police rolling the body of the driver into a plastic sheet. Palestinian health authorities identified him as a Palestinian national.

An Israeli police spokesman said an officer who had been near the scene opened fire after the attacker rammed his car into people by the roadside near the Israeli settlement of Elazar, close to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said one of the Israelis, 17, was unresponsive and “in severe condition with multisystem trauma” and that the other, 19, had sustained moderate injuries.

Dozens of Israeli troops and medics were at the scene. The alleged attacker’s vehicle, which bore Israeli license plates which allow greater freedom of movement in both Israel and the West Bank, was overturned by the roadside. Police said the attacker had been driving along a road which weaves past Palestinian towns and Israeli settlements.

Palestinians carried out a wave of car-rammings in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016, but the frequency of such incidents has since ebbed.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Two Palestinian youths stabbed an Israeli policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday and were shot by officers, killing one of them.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Peter Graff)

Car hits pedestrians in suspected terrorist attack at UK parliament

Armed police officers stand at a cordon after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

By Kylie MacLellan and Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – A man deliberately drove a car into London pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday before ramming it into barriers outside Britain’s parliament in what appeared to be the second terrorist attack at the building in just under 18 months, police said.

Three people were injured. The driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested by armed officers moments later. He was not cooperating with detectives, the British police counter-terrorism chief said.

“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident,” the officer, London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, told reporters.

In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in the grounds of parliament before being shot dead.

It was the first of five attacks in Britain last year that police designated as terrorism, three of which used vehicles as weapons.

Basu said the suspect in Tuesday’s incident was in custody but not cooperating. He said the man had not been formally identified but was not believed to be known to security forces.

The BBC, citing unnamed sources, said the man was from the Birmingham area and known to police, although not to intelligence or counter-terrorism agencies.

Forensic investigators work at the site after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Forensic investigators work at the site after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

NO OTHER SUSPECTS

Basu said there were currently no other suspects from the scene of the incident and no indications of further danger.

Police said a silver Ford Fiesta had driven through a group of cyclists and pedestrians during the morning rush hour before hitting a barrier in front of the Houses of Parliament at 7:37 a.m. (0637 GMT).

Video footage showed the vehicle making an illegal turn before veering across the road and into a security lane leading to parliament before smashing into the protective barrier as two police officers jumped to safety.

The man was detained on suspicion of terrorist offenses and no weapons were found, Basu said.

Two people were taken to the hospital and one woman was still receiving treatment for serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Armed officers swarmed the scene and sealed off a large area around parliament that is usually bustling with tourists and government workers.

“I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I don’t know if he’s hit these people or if they’ve just dived to escape,” bystander Jason Williams told reporters. “It didn’t swerve, there was not another car going behind him. It looked like it was planned.”

Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at the vehicle shortly after the crash. Footage on social media showed a man being led away in handcuffs.

“TERRIBLE SCENES”

Prime Minister Theresa May, who like other lawmakers is on holiday during parliament’s summer recess, urged Britons to remain vigilant but to carry on as normal.

“For the second time in as many years the home of our democracy, which is a potent symbol of our precious values of tolerance and freedom, has just witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door,” she said in a statement.

Britain is on its second-highest threat level, “severe”, meaning an attack is considered highly likely.

May’s spokesman said that, since Masood’s attack in Westminster last year, 13 Islamist and four far-right plots had been foiled. At the end of June, security services were carrying out 676 live investigations.

Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London’s Oxford Street, the capital’s major shopping thoroughfare.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has previously spoken out about security issues in London, tweeted: “These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength.”

Cordons around parliament began to be lifted about six hours after the incident and Westminster Underground station, close to parliament, was reopened. However, streets immediately surrounding the scene remained closed off.

(Additional reporting by Michael Holden, James Davey, Alistair Smout and Paul SandleWriting by William Schomberg; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Toronto van attack suspect faces murder charges in court

A damaged van seized by police is seen after multiple people were struck at a major intersection northern Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Saul Porto

By Allison Martell and Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – The driver suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 others when he plowed a rental van into pedestrians in Toronto made his first court appearance on Tuesday, where details of a motive for the attack were expected to emerge.

While the worst mass killing in Canada in decades has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the United States and Europe, officials said it did not represent a threat to national security.

Suspect Alek Minassian, 25, entered a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning. His head was shaved and he was looking down as prosecutors announced they were charging him with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

The proceedings began after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the attack outside of parliament in Ottawa, calling on all Canadians to stand united with Toronto.

“We cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business. We need to focus on doing what we can and we must to keep Canadians safe while we stay true to the freedoms and values that we all as Canadians hold dear,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said that, while it would take time before the motives of the attacker were understood, the incident had not changed the country’s threat level or security preparations for a G7 summit in Quebec in June.

People left flowers at a makeshift memorial, which grew as commuters returned to work on Tuesday morning. Blank white posters left against a stone wall were covered with messages.

The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff at parliament and at Toronto city hall.

Minassian, who was not previously known to authorities, attended a high school program where one classmate remembered him as “absolutely harmless.”

The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest even as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.

Canadians mourned as the victims began to be identified on Tuesday.

“We are a peaceful, tolerant, free society. The horrific violence on Toronto‚Äôs Yonge Street will strengthen rather than undermine these truths,” columnist John Ibbitson wrote in the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

The attack shook the usually peaceful streets of Toronto, a multicultural city with a population of 2.8 million. The city recorded 61 murders last year.

Downtown Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, which is normally lit up in the evening, went dark on Monday evening.

The drama started at lunchtime on a warm spring day, when the driver drove his vehicle into the crowds. The street was soon covered in blood, empty shoes and bodies.

Canada is still recovering from the shock of a highway crash in Saskatchewan earlier this month that killed 16 people on a bus carrying a junior hockey team.

Last October, eight people died in New York when a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allision Martell; additional reporting and writing by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Jonathan Oatis and Jim Finkle)

Driver kills nine, injures 16 plowing van onto Toronto sidewalk: police

Firemen cover a victim of an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

y Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – A driver plowed his white Ryder rental van into a crowd, killing nine people and injuring 16 along a roughly mile-long stretch of busy Toronto sidewalk during lunch hour on a sunny Monday afternoon, police said.

Officials declined to answer questions about what motivated the driver to steer his vehicle toward people just before 1:30 p.m. (1730 GMT). They said the driver was in custody and stopped short of calling it a deliberate act.

But at least one witness described the driver as appearing to deliberately target victims on his roughly mile-long (1.6 km-long) rampage, according to media reports.

“This is going to be a long investigation,” Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Yuen told a news conference after disclosing the death toll.

People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto’s northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A Reuters witness saw at least two tarp-covered bodies at the site of the incident. Five people remained in critical condition at Sunnybrook Health Services Centre on Monday afternoon, the hospital said.

Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, declined to comment on what may have motivated the attack.

“The investigation is at a stage where no further information can be confirmed at this point,” Goodale told a news conference said. “The police are conducting obviously their thorough investigation to determine what happened and why it happened, the motivations involved.”

Ryder System Inc spokeswoman Claudia Panfil confirmed that one of the company’s rental vehicles had been involved and said the company was cooperating with authorities.

There have been a string of deadly vehicle attacks in the United States and Europe, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight. Islamic State militant group encourages its supporters to use vehicles for attacks.

Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan

Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto’s northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan

‘IT’S UNPRECEDENTED’

The incident was one of the most violent in recent Canadian history.

A former Canadian university student last month pleaded guilty to killing six men praying in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.

In September, a Somali refugee who was charged with attempted murder on allegations he ran down four pedestrians with a car and stabbed a police officer outside a sports stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

“It’s unprecedented,” said John Flengas, acting superintendent in the city’s paramedic services. We’ve never seen anything like this in the city of Toronto.”

The incident occurred about 30 kms (18 miles) away from the site where Toronto is hosting a Group of Seven foreign ministers.

A man who gave his name as Ali told CNN he saw the van and that the driver appeared to have been targeting people.

“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the man said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.”

He said a number of the victims were older people and at one point he saw a stroller fly into the air.

At least one person was struck outside on the sidewalk outside an Anglican church, north of where the van came to rest in front of a currency exchange in a condominium tower.

Yonge Street is large, divided boulevard at the point where the incident occurred, its center meridian dotted with planter boxes and sculptures.

Some of the victims were struck in a public square popular with office workers on lunch breaks. Aerial photos of the scene posted on social media showed a food truck parked just a few feet away from where emergency workers busily transferred people onto stretchers.

There was no noticeable change in security around the Intercontinental Hotel where the ministers of Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting on Monday.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell in Toronto; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle, Nichola Saminather, Carlo Allegri and Julie Gordon; Writing by Andrea Hopkins and Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool)

Australia police say don’t suspect terrorism after car plows into pedestrians

Australian police stand near a crashed vehicle after they arrested the driver of a vehicle that had ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017.

By Melanie Burton and Byron Kaye

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An Australian man of Afghan descent with a history of mental health issues drove a car into Christmas shoppers in the city of Melbourne on Thursday, injuring 19 people, but police said they did not believe the attack was terror-related.

In January, four people were killed and more than 20 injured when a man drove into pedestrians just a few hundred meters away from Thursday’s attack. That too was not a terror attack.

Jim Stoupas, the owner of a donut shop at the scene, told Reuters the vehicle was traveling up to 100 kph (62 mph) when it drove into the intersection packed with people, hitting one person after another.

“All you could hear was just ‘bang bang bang bang bang’ and screams,” Stoupas said in a telephone interview, adding the car came to rest by a tram stop.

Police said they detained the 32-year-old driver, an Australian of Afghan descent with a history of assault, drug use and mental health issues.

“At this time, we don’t have any evidence or intelligence to indicate a connection with terrorism,” said the acting chief commissioner of Victoria State, Shane Patton.

Four of the injured were in critical condition, including a pre-school aged boy who suffered a head injury.

Police also detained a 24-year-old man at the scene who was filming the incident and had a bag with knifes.

Patton said it was “quite probable” the 24-year-old was not involved.

The men had not been charged and their names have not been released by police.

The attack took place on Flinders Street, a major road that runs alongside the Yarra River, in the central business district of Australia’s second-biggest city.

Melbourne has installed about 140 concrete bollards in the city center to stop vehicle attacks by militants similar to recent attacks in Europe and the United States.

“We’ve seen an horrific act, an evil act, an act of cowardice perpetrated against innocent bystanders,” said the state premier, Daniel Andrews.

Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, has also installed concrete barricades in main pedestrian thoroughfares.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the emergency health workers who are treating them,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a post on his official Twitter account.

Australia has been on a “high” national threat level since 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq and Syria.

Two hostages were killed during a 17-hour siege by a “lone wolf” gunman, inspired by Islamic State militants, in a cafe in Sydney in December 2014.

 

(Reporting by Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE and Byron Kaye in SYDNEY; additional reporting by Sonali Paul and Paulina Duran; writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel)

Uzbek man charged in New York attack said he ‘felt good’ about what he did

People gather for a candlelight vigil for victims of the pickup truck attack at Foley Square in New York City, U.S., November 1, 2017

By Gina Cherelus and Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Uzbek immigrant accused of plowing a truck down a New York City bike path, killing eight people, told investigators he had been inspired by watching Islamic State videos and began planning the attack a year ago, according to a criminal complaint filed against him on Wednesday.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who was hospitalized after he was shot by a police officer and arrested, confessed to authorities that he made a trial run with a rental truck on Oct. 22 to practice turning the vehicle and “stated that he felt good about what he had done” after the attack, the complaint said.

The 10-page charging document said Saipov waived his rights to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination in agreeing to speak to investigators without an attorney present from his bed at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan.

In the course of that interview, the complaint said, Saipov told investigators he chose Halloween for the attack because he believed more people would be on the streets and said he had originally planned to strike the Brooklyn Bridge as well as the bike path on the western edge of lower Manhattan.

The complaint said Saipov had requested permission to display the flag of the Islamic State militant group in his hospital room.

It said he was particularly motivated by seeing a video in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who led the campaign by Islamic State – also known as ISIS – to seize territory for a self-proclaimed caliphate within Iraq and Syria, exhorted Muslims in the United States and elsewhere to support the group’s cause.

Investigators found thousands of ISIS-related propaganda images and videos on a cellphone belonging to Saipov, including video clips showing ISIS prisoners being beheaded, run over by a tank and shot in the face, the complaint said.

Separately on Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had located another Uzbek man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, 32, wanted for questioning as a person of interest in the attack. The FBI earlier had issued a wanted posted for Kadirov.

The assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, William Sweeney Jr., declined at a news conference to give any details on Kadirov or where he was found.

U.S. law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, told Reuters that Saipov had been in contact with Kadirov and another person of interest in the investigation, though they did not elaborate.

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack, is seen in this courtroom sketch appearing in Manhattan federal courtroom in a wheelchair in New York, NY, U.S., November 1, 2017.

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack, is seen in this courtroom sketch appearing in Manhattan federal courtroom in a wheelchair in New York, NY, U.S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

ELIGIBLE FOR DEATH PENALTY

Saipov was charged with one count of providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically Islamic State, and one count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles causing the deaths of eight people.

Manhattan acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said the first count carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the second would make Saipov eligible for capital punishment if convicted, if the government chose to seek the death penalty. Additional or different charges could be brought later in an indictment, Kim said.

Vehicle assaults similar to the New York attack took place in Spain in August and in France and Germany last year, claiming dozens of lives.

Tuesday’s assault was the deadliest in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, when suicide hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,600 people.

Of those killed on Tuesday, five were Argentine tourists, who were among a group of friends visiting New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, one was a Belgian citizen, one was a New York resident and one lived in New Jersey.

Saipov allegedly used a pickup truck rented from a New Jersey Home Depot store to run down pedestrians and cyclists along a 20-block stretch of the bike path that runs along the Hudson River before slamming into a school bus.

According to authorities, he then exited his vehicle shouting “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is greatest” – and brandishing what turned out to be a paint-ball gun and a pellet gun before a police officer shot him in the abdomen.

Saipov lived in Paterson, New Jersey, a one-time industrial hub about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of lower Manhattan.

Candles are seen during a vigil for victims of the pickup truck attack at Foley Square in New York City, U.S., November 1, 2017

Candles are seen during a vigil for victims of the pickup truck attack at Foley Square in New York City, U.S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

WHEELCHAIR-BOUND SUSPECT

Saipov, seated in a wheelchair, appeared for a brief hearing in Manhattan federal court Wednesday evening before Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses. A Russian interpreter translated for Saipov.

Saipov did not ask for bail and was remanded to federal custody. It was not immediately clear where he would be held.

Moses appointed public defense attorney David Patton to represent Saipov.

Patton asked Moses that she recommend that Saipov be given a wheelchair or cane while in custody. He said Saipov was in “a significant amount of pain” and asked that he be given treatment for that as well. Moses agreed to the requests.

Two senior U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday urged authorities to treat Saipov as an enemy combatant, which would allow investigators to question him without having a lawyer present.

President Donald Trump said he would be open to transferring Saipov to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where other suspects including alleged Sept. 11 plotters are held.

Kim, the federal prosecutor, said there was nothing about charging Saipov in civilian court that would necessarily prevent him from later being declared an enemy combatant. “That is a determination that will be made elsewhere,” he told reporters.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said police will be out in force to protect the city’s marathon on Sunday, one of the world’s top road races, which draws some 51,000 runners and 2.5 million spectators from around the globe.

 

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen, Melissa Fares and Devika Kumar in New York, Joseph Ax in Paterson, New Jersey, and Mark Hosenball and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)

 

New York City truck attack suspect followed Islamic State plans

Amaya Lopez-Silvero, 20, and Elliot Levy, 21, embrace by a makeshift memorial for victims of Tuesday's attack lay outside a police barricade on the bike path next to West Street a day after a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path alongside the Hudson River in New York City, New York, U.S.

By Gina Cherelus and Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Uzbek immigrant suspected of killing eight people in New York City by crashing a truck through a crowd on a bike path followed online plans from Islamic State and left a note saying the militant group would “endure forever,” police said on Wednesday.

Police said they had interviewed Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who is in hospital after an officer shot him, ending the riverfront rampage. They said he appeared to have been planning the attack for weeks and that investigators recovered notes and knives at the scene.

“The gist of the note was that the Islamic State would endure forever,” New York Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller told a news conference. “He appears to have followed almost exactly the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels to its followers.”

The attack was the deadliest on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, when suicide hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,600 people. A further 12 people were injured, some critically, in Tuesday’s attack.

Similar assaults using vehicles as weapons took place in Spain in August and in France and Germany last year.

Saipov allegedly used a pickup truck rented from a New Jersey Home Depot Inc store to run down pedestrians and bicyclists on the path before slamming into the side of a school bus.

He then exited the vehicle brandishing what turned out to be a paint-ball gun and a pellet gun before a police officer shot him in the abdomen.

Saipov reportedly lived in Paterson, New Jersey, a one-time industrial hub about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of lower Manhattan.

 

TRUMP: ‘SEND HIM TO GITMO’

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham urged authorities to treat Saipov as an enemy combatant, a move that would allow investigators to question the man without him having a lawyer present.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be open to transferring Saipov to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where other suspects including alleged Sept. 11 plotters are held.

“Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that,” Trump told reporters. “We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said that Saipov had been radicalized while living in the United States.

The majority of the 18 Islamic State-inspired attacks carried out in the United States since September 2014 were the work of attackers who developed radical views while living in the United States, said Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, research director at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters November 1, 2017.

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters November 1, 2017. New York PD/Handout via REUTERS

ARGENTINE FRIENDS AMONG DEAD

Six victims were pronounced dead at the scene and two more at a nearby hospital, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Five of the dead were Argentine tourists, visiting New York as part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, the government there said. Belgium’s foreign minister said a Belgian citizen was also among those killed.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said police will be out in force to protect the city’s marathon on Sunday, one of the world’s top road races, which draws some 51,000 runners and 2.5 million spectators from around the globe.

A pair of ethnic Chechen brothers killed three people and injured more than 260 with homemade bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, memories that were stirred for some runners by Tuesday’s attack.

“It was unsettling to hear the news,” said Neil Gottlieb, 48, who crossed the finish line in Boston shortly before the blasts and plans to run the New York City race on Sunday. “You simply can’t stop a truck and that’s the issue in my mind and my wife’s mind.”

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said his government would do all it could to help investigate the “extremely brutal” attack.

Last week an Uzbekistan citizen living in Brooklyn was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring to support Islamic State.

Saipov had not been the subject of any U.S. investigation, Miller said. He had been in contact with a person who was the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, a U.S. government source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Trump, who has pressed for a ban on travelers entering the United States from some predominantly Muslim countries, criticized the U.S. visa system, blaming Democrats including U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York for the diversity visa system that admitted Saipov. He said he wanted a “merit based” immigration program.

“We do not want chain migration, where somebody like him ultimately will be allowed to bring in many, many members of his family,” Trump told reporters.

Schumer shot back at Trump: “Instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, (Trump) should be bringing us together and focusing on the real solution, anti-terrorism funding, which he proposed to cut in his most recent budget,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

 

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Melissa Fares in New York, Joseph Ax in Patterson, New Jersey and Mark Hosenball and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Paul Tait and Bill Rigby)