Eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon in a Tribeca terrorist attack as a rental truck plowed through helpless riders on a Lower Manhattan bike path, officials said.
The driver yelled “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running the riders down from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway white pickup.
The 29-year-old suspect, described as Middle Eastern, was arrested after a hero police officer shot him in the right hip following a crash between the truck and a school bus.
He was waving an paintball gun and a pellet gun when cops reached the scene.
“This was an act of terror,” declared Mayor de Blasio at a somber One Police Plaza news conference. “And a particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians.”
The truck jumped the curb near Houston St. at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists and pedestrians, officials said. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.
“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said eyewitness Eugene Duff, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West St. “It was wrong.”
Police were investigating amid reports of gunfire and a Home Depot truck plowing into bike riders. (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
The off-duty chef watched in disbelief as the driver of the speeding truck ran down a pair of Citi Bike riders about 50 feet apart, catching both from behind on the busy bike path alongside the Hudson River.
There were visible tire tracks on the bodies of the two victims as the truck continued to carve a path of carnage through the neighborhood, he said.
Six bikers were dead at the scene, while two other victims died later at Manhattan hospitals. The heavily traveled bike path is used by bicyclists, joggers and walkers.
“I thought it was terrorism,” said Duff of the Tribeca attack. “That’s the first thing that crossed my mind.”
The deadly incident was reminiscent of similar terrorist attacks in London, Barcelona and Berlin.
The truck was apparently rented from a Home Depot in Jersey City, N.J., making it likely the driver came through the Holland Tunnel.
A police officer and investigator at the scene of the Tuesday terror attack.
The arrest followed a crash involving the rented truck and a school bus on West St., a few blocks north of the World Trade Center. Several eyewitnesses initially thought it was some sort of Halloween prank.
Four people on the bus, two adults and two students, were injured and taken to Bellevue Hospital. Authorities said another seven people were injured, bringing the total to 11 — all expected to live.
Gov. Cuomo said early indications were that the unidentified killer was acting alone, with “no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme.”
Video captured by a witness shows a man running near the scene where at least six people were killed when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed along a Lower Manhattan bike path.
Video captured by a witness shows a man running near the scene where at least six people were killed when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed along a Lower Manhattan bike path. (OBTAINED BY NY DAILY NEWS)
A horde of police vehicles and first responders descended on the chaotic scene.
“I thought it was Halloween (prank) or something,” said witness Tawhid Kabir, 20, of Queens. “I saw the guy running in a circle and I realized it was serious.”
NYPD snipers took positions on the roof of the nearby City Vineyard restaurant as cops flooded the neighborhood.
A map shows the path a truck took as it drove down a bike path in Lower Manhattan and killed eight people in total Tuesday. (GOOGLE MAPS)
“We thought the guns were fake and it was a Halloween prank,” said Stuyvesant High School student Laith Bahlouli, 14. “There was a car crash, and then he started to shoot.”
Classmate Alif Rahman, 14, said they heard “four to six gunshots” and then spied two bodies covered with blankets by the NYPD.
A child was seen sitting on the lap of an adult wearing a neck brace after the incident.
Reports of an active shooter came in about 3 p.m. (ALEC TABAK/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“We all heard the gunfire,” said witness Michael Corbin, who works at nearby District Council 37. “I heard distinctly five shots in quick succession.”
Witnesses reported seeing a gunman inside the Home Depot truck, and video showed a badly damaged truck from the home improvement store sitting on a West St. median.
Home Depot, in a statement, said they were cooperating fully with the mass killing investigation.
A school bus involved in the chaotic crash Tuesday in Lower Manhattan. (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
The smell of gunpowder hung in the air as police shut down the roadway in mid-afternoon on Halloween.
President Trump was also brought up to speed on the rampage.
Witness Frank Brito, 45, told The News he saw a heavyset man in a blue tracksuit exit the truck and start running after the crash with the school bus.