Footage of the New York terror attack suspect fleeing on foot after eight people were killed in a vehicle rampage in lower Manhattan has emerged.
The US media has identified 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov as the main suspect who plowed a Home Depot rental pickup into a bike path on Tuesday afternoon, in what is suspected to be the city’s deadliest terror attack since September 11, 2001.
After ramming the truck into a school bus, the suspect ditched the vehicle, and attempted to flee on foot.
In the footage he can be seen weaving through moving cars, waving what police described as “imitation firearms”, later identified as a paintball and a pellet gun.
In a subsequent clip the suspect is on the ground while officers surround him. He was taken to hospital with an abdominal wound and is expected to live.
According to CNN and other media outlets, the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” - Arabic for “God is greatest” - after leaping from his truck, which had crashed into a school bus as he sped away from the carnage.
He is also reported to have left behind a note claiming he carried out the deadly assault in the name of the Islamic State militant group.
Five of those killed were friends from Argentina who were in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their graduation, the country’s government confirmed.
They were Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.
A Belgian woman is also among the dead.
At least 15 people were also injured in the attack, which is being investigated by the FBI and the New York Police Department.
Saipov, born in February 1988, moved to the United States seven years ago from Uzbekistan, a Central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. He appears to have lived in Ohio, Florida and New Jersey since then.
An Uzbek immigrant who met Saipov in Florida several years ago told the New York Times that Saipov worked as a truck driver there but began driving for Uber when he moved to New Jersey.
“He was a very good person when I knew him,” Kobiljon Matkarov told the newspaper. “He liked the US He seemed very lucky and all the time he was happy and talking like everything is OK He did not seem like a terrorist, but I did not know him from the inside.”
US-based Uzbek religious activist and blogger Mirrakhmat Muminov told the BBC Saipov became an aggressive person after being radicalised on the internet once he had arrived in the US.
“He was not well educated and had no knowledge of the Koran before arriving in the US. At the beginning of his time here he was a normal sort of person,” he said.
Saipov was an Uber driver after passing the background check, but has since been banned from the Uber app, a spokesperson with the ride-sharing company said.
“We are aggressively and quickly reviewing this partner’s history with Uber, and at this time we have not identified any related concerning safety reports,” the company said, adding that it has been in contact with the FBI.
The Times, citing sources, reported that Saipov had been living in Paterson, New Jersey, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the scene of the attack. He rented the truck used in the attack from a Home Depot in nearby Passaic, just south of Paterson, it said.
Police cordoned off an area of Paterson, a one-time industrial hub known for its large immigrant population, early Wednesday morning. About 25,000 to 30,000 Muslims live in the city, giving it one of the highest concentrations of Muslim people in the New York City area.
Saipov has a history of traffic violations, according to media reports and court records.
In one incident, he was pulled over in central Pennsylvania for pulling a truck trailer that was longer than permitted by law and “operating unsafe equipment”, as well as driving with the wrong operators license, state judicial records show.
Saipov listed both Paterson and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, as his addresses. He paid his fine by mail and did not have to appear in court.