Sayfullo Saipov: Truck driver then Uber driver now New York terror suspect

Uzbek national arrived in the US in 2010 and is said to have since earned a green card

At least eight people were killed in what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said appeared to be a "cowardly" terrorism attack on Tuesday when a pickup truck drove at high speed down a bike path in Manhattan. Video: Reuters

 

The arrival of Sayfullo Saipov - who is accused of killing eight people and injuring 11 others in a terror incident in New York - to the United States in 2010 was quite unceremonious.

“My dad introduced him as, ‘He’s new to the United States, and he’s going to stay with us,’” recalled 22-year-old Bekhzod Abdusamatov, who met him in Ohio.

Saipov arrived from Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, knowing little English, Abdusamatov said. He spent his early days in the United States looking for a job and trying to improve his English. The 29-year-old was noted as a late sleeper.

At one point, Saipov made his way to Fort Myers, Florida, where he met a fellow Uzbek immigrant, Kobiljon Matkarov (37). Saipov was working as a truck driver at the time.

“He was a very good person when I knew him,” he said. “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.”

After a move to New Jersey, Saipov eventually settled in Paterson, New Jersey and began driving for Uber. On Tuesday night, law enforcement officials converged on an apartment building near Genessee and Getty avenues that was believed to be Saipov’s home.

Green card

Saipov had earned a green card, according to a law enforcement official who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the investigation was proceeding, and had entered the country through Kennedy International Airport.

An Uber official said Saipov had passed the company’s background check. “We have been in contact with the FBI and have offered our assistance,” the official said. “We will remain in close contact with law enforcement and the FBI to assist with their investigation.

“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.”

Eight people were killed and at 11 others were injured on Tuesday when a rented pickup knocked down cyclists and pedestrians near the World Trade Centre, before striking a school bus.

Saipov was identified as the man responsible and was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand. Witnesses said he shouted was “Allahu Akbar!,” Arabic for “God is great”.

NBC News reported that police had found a note in the truck used in the attack which claimed the attack was carried out on behalf of the Islamic State.

New York Times