A total of eight people, including five Argentinian friends, were killed yesterday in a terrorist strike by a Uzbekistani man in Lower Manhattan. While driving a rented Home Depot truck, the man careened directly into a bike path close to the World Trade Center (WTC), the site of America’s tragic 9/11 terror event. The driver, identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, also injured an additional 11 people in the attack. New evidence also claims that Saipov jumped out of his truck after the event brandishing an airsoft or paintball gun while chanting, ““Allahu akbar.” Saipov was quickly taken down by police with a gunshot to the hip shortly after leaving his truck.
- Officials were apparently aware of the man, and had identified him in past intelligence investigations as a potential connection to terror, but did not believe he was a serious risk.
- Saipov was in the United States on a Permanent Resident visa under the Diversity Visa Program (DVP). The DVP is a lottery-based program providing immigration and residency opportunities for people from countries with low immigrant occupancy in the United States.
- The attacker was also an Uber driver, but the company has since banned him as a driver, releasing a statement declaring their intentions to separate from Saipov in the process.
- Law enforcement reports that Saipov not only rented and drove the truck purposefully, but was also carrying both a pellet gun and a paintball gun. The man had neither the time nor the ability to utilize these weapons before being taken down by police.
- Although investigators did find papers lying in and around the truck in which someone (allegedly Saipov) swore allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS), no official terrorist organization is claiming responsibility for the attack. As of Wednesday, officials believed the situation was likely to be inspired by ISIS-like groups, rather than spurred on by them.
- Saipov remains hospitalized in critical, but stable condition after being shot by police. He is awake and claims to be “proud” of the attack.
If at all, how do you think this event should impact current immigration laws?