Deaths, numerous injuries in Manhattan crash; authorities treating attack as terrorism

 31 Oct 2017 - 23:05

Deaths, numerous injuries in Manhattan crash;  authorities treating attack as terrorism
New York city first responders stand at the crime scene on a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, U.S., October 31, 2017. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

AFP

New York:  Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday when a suspect plowed a vehicle into a bike and pedestrian path in Lower Manhattan, and struck another vehicle on Halloween, police said.

A suspect exited the vehicle holding up fake guns, before being shot by police and taken into custody, officers said. The motive was not immediately apparent.

The city, which has frequently been on high security alert since the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on the Twin Towers, is America's financial and entertainment capital, with a population of 8.5 million.

"The vehicle struck multiple people on the path. There are several fatalities and numerous people injured," police tweeted.

"The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD."

Emergency services said the incident happened at 3:06 pm (1906 GMT) at Chambers and West Streets in the upmarket TriBeCa neighborhood, near Stuyvesant High School as New York celebrated Halloween.

Witnesses told local media that they saw a car crash, before one person exited one of the vehicles, and they heard shots.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were at the scene being briefed on the incident.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident, the White House said.

"Our Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

A witness who gave his name only as Frank told local television network NY1 that he saw a man running around an intersection, heard five to six gunshots and saw "about 100 cops" flood into the street.

"I saw he had something in his hand, but I couldn't tell what it was. But they said that it was a gun, so I was like: 'Oh my God,'" the witness told NY1.

"When the cops shot him, everybody started running away and it got a little bit crazy right there. So when I tried to look again, the guy was already down," he added.

It was the first mass casualty incident in New York since a US Navy veteran plowed a car into pedestrians in Times Square, killing an 18-year-old woman from Michigan and injuring 22 other people on May 18.

Police patrols in Times Square, one of the world's busiest districts, had already been beefed up in recent years, following a 2010 car bombing attempt and in the wake of attacks in Europe.

Reuters adds:  The striking of pedestrians by a vehicle in lower Manhattan on Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack, two U.S. government sources said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the New York City police department in investigating the incident, the sources said.