Manhattan terrorist asked to fly ISIS flag in hospital
The man who allegedly killed eight people on Oct. 31 in the worst terror attack New York City has seen since 9/11 had planned to continue his rampage down the West Side Highway and onto the Brooklyn Bridge, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors charged Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, with providing support to the terrorist group ISIS. He is also facing charges of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
Saipov, who is in police custody and recovering from his injuries at Bellevue Hospital, waived his Miranda rights verbally and spoke to law enforcement officials about the attack, the complaint said.
He told authorities he began planning an attack in the US roughly one year ago, and decided two months ago to use a truck "in order to inflict maximum damage against civilians." He also said he chose the date of Oct. 31 because it was Halloween — a date he believed would draw more civilians out onto the street.
Saipov's original plan was to plow the rented truck into civilians near the West Side Highway and the drive on to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue the bloodshed. Saipov never made it to the Brooklyn Bridge as he crashed the truck into a school bus near the West Side Highway's bicycle path.
From there, Saipov exited the truck while yelling "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," and brandished a paintball gun and pellet gun. According to the complaint, Saipov also had a bag of knives, but left them in the truck before exiting.
He also admitted to writing the note found by authorities, which they said was written in Arabic and said the Islamic State would endure forever.
Saipov said he was was motivated to carry out the attack after watching a video featuring ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asking what Muslims in the US were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.
Saipov also told authorities he had intended to display the black-and-white ISIS flags in the front and rear of his truck, but eventually decided against it so as not to draw attention to himself.
The complaint also noted that Saipov had asked during his interview with authorities if he could display the ISIS flag in his hospital room. He told them that "he felt good about what he had done," the complaint said.