Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek man, was a father and a small business owner before he drove a truck down a lower Manhattan bike lane, killing eight and injuring at least 12.
In a note he left in his truck, he pledged allegiance to the ISIS terrorist group. Federal agents interviewed him two years ago about connections to suspected terrorists.
Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010 after he received a green card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—the green card lottery.
He got married in April 2013 to Nozima Odilova, also from Uzbekistan. At the time, he was 25 and she was 19. They listed an address in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, some 20 miles south of Cleveland.
Saipov put “truck driver” as his occupation on his marriage certificate. A transport company named Bright Auto LLC was listed in 2013 at his home address in Cuyahoga Falls and under Saipov’s name.
He also lived in Tampa, Florida, where he rented an apartment in a complex called Heritage at Tampa, near the Hillsborough River.
Recently, he lived in Paterson, New Jersey, with his wife and three children, Pix 11 reported. For about half a year he drove for ride-hailing company Uber. Uber has since removed him from its app.
Some people who knew Saipov from several years ago described him as friendly and happy.
Kobiljon Matkarov, also an Uzbek, met Saipov when they both lived in Florida.
“He was very happy guy,” he told NBC. “He liked the U.S. He is no terrorist. He’s all the time happy, smiling all the time.”
But at least two current neighbors said Saipov wouldn’t greet them or talk to them when they saw him, NJ.com reported, which they perceived as unfriendliness in a neighborhood where everybody knows each other.
“He doesn’t say what’s up,” Moe Ali, 17, who lives about a block away from Saipov, told Newsday. “He’s not polite. Everybody out here, we all know each other. … He would just walk and put his head down. That’s not normal anywhere.”
Saipov was a practicing Muslim, but other Muslims in his neighborhood said they only saw him in the local mosque once or twice.
In 2015, he was interviewed by Homeland Security agents about possible ties to suspected terrorists, but there was not enough evidence to open a case against him, ABC reported, citing law enforcement officials. He was also connected on social media to people who are or were subjects of terror investigations, investigators found.
He rented a truck from a Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey, and on Tuesday, Oct. 31, drove it across the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan and sped down the Hudson River bike path, which runs between the Hudson River and the West Side Highway.
He entered the bike lane near Pier 40 and drove down about 4,000 feet, plowing through bikers and pedestrians until he intentionally crashed into a school bus near the Stuyvesant High School, injuring two adults and two children inside.
He then exited the truck, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great” in Arabic), brandished a pellet gun and a paintball gun and ran through traffic on the highway until he was shot in the abdomen by NYPD Officer Ryan Nash, 28, who was out on a different call but spotted Saipov and chased him.
Saipov was taken into custody and is expected to recover from his injury.
A note was found in the truck he rented indicating that Saipov carried out the attack for ISIS, law enforcement sources told NBC.