TAMPA — Sayfullo Saipov, 29, already infamous for his terrorist attack carried out Tuesday in lower Manhattan in a rented Home Depot truck, has doubled down on his atrociousness, bragging about the attack from his hospital bed on Wednesday.
Saipov, who lived in Paterson, New Jersey but formerly resided in Florida, killed 8 people and injured 14 others on his 14-block vehicular rampage before being shot in the abdomen by NYPD officer Ryan Nash and taken into custody. He is currently in critical but stable condition.
In Saipov’s truck was a note written in Arabic that said, “ISIS lives forever,” rendering motive in the attack pretty clear.
The killer—who hails from Uzbekistan and who clearly viewed his perceived duty to ISIS as more important than his life with his wife and 3 young children—was reportedly radicalized in the U.S.
According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “(A)fter he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics. Again, ISIS has gotten it down to a simple formula that they can put on the internet and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to rent a car, rent a truck. But they are cowards and they are depraved.”
The news came as a shock to Saipov’s Florida neighbors, who saw him as pleasant and unassuming.
“He was a very good person when I knew him,” said 37-year-old Kobiljon Matkarov of Fort Myers. “He liked the U.S. 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.”
According to published reports, Saipov also had an address in Tampa in 2016.
Despite the unawareness of his Florida friends and acquaintances, Saipov at some point aroused enough suspicion to gain the attention of federal authorities, though it’s not yet known at this time if he was specifically being monitored or if he was related in some way to another investigation.
With Florida associates and his family in New Jersey unable to shed any light on the situation, authorities are now sifting through Saipov’s social media accounts to get a sense of what connections the killer may have had and as a means of possibly assessing future threats.
“[T]here is no evidence now that it was part of a larger conspiracy, larger plot,” Cuomo said. “This is the evolution of the jihad tactics, right? It’s no longer geographically isolated. The internet has given them a global platform and a global training ground. They have a very simple play: rent a car, rent a truck, create mayhem.”
While Saipov may be pleased with himself now, hopefully the criminal justice system will be able to effectively wipe the smile off his face in the months to come.