NYC terror truck attack investigation moves to Paterson

Posted: Updated:
PATERSON -

FBI agents and police were searching for evidence Wednesday at the Paterson apartment of a man accused of purposely running down a group of people in Manhattan Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials said Sayfullo Saipov, 29, purposely drove down a bike path and ran down people in a rented Home Depot truck. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a terrorist attack. The attack killed eight and injured 11 others.

Law enforcement cordoned off an apartment building in Paterson Wednesday morning. Officers also searched a garage.

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"All the helicopters and detectives came down and shut the street down pretty much, and the picture came up and realized who it was,” says neighbor Angel Batista.

The building's manager told News 12 New Jersey that Saipov, who is an Uzbekistan native, lived with his wife and two children in a two-bedroom apartment in unit No. 9 on Genessee Avenue. The man said he rented the apartment to the 29-year-old several months ago.

The city is home to a large Muslim population, and Omar Mosque is near the apartment.

PHOTOS: Scene after deadly bike path vehicle attack in Manhattan
VIDEO: NYC officials hold news conference about the attack

Residents who spoke with News 12 disavowed Saipov as an animal with no religion.

"He's not a member of the mosque,” says Paterson Councilman Andre Sayegh. “I actually go down there during the holidays to greet Muslims and I've never seen him there, and there were two major holidays within the last four months."

Numerous law enforcement officers also were seen at the Passaic Home Depot Tuesday evening. Investigators surrounded a white Toyota minivan with Florida plates, which is believed to be Saipov’s personal vehicle. The van was parked near the Home Depot’s rental trucks. Saipov reportedly rented the Home Depot truck used in the attack from the Passaic location.

Neighbors say that Saipov had rented Home Depot trucks previously.

“First time I saw was three weeks ago and I guess he constantly rented the same model truck out,” says Carlos Batista. “I saw him four, five times. He’ll drive past with the same two guys with him.”

Carlos Batista says that he thought it was suspicious because the trucks were always empty.

“They didn’t’ even have one piece of wood in it,” he says. “I do construction, so I know when someone is doing some type of work.”

Saipov also worked as an Uber driver for the past six months in New Jersey.

The FBI is looking for tips related to the attack. Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-225-5321.

The Associated Press news wire service contributed to this report.

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