A man in a rented truck drove onto a busy bike path in downtown New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 31, striking bikers and pedestrians in his path. According to the Associated Press, police shot and took the attacker into custody after he jumped out of the vehicle with two fake guns. In the wake of the incident, several people were reported dead and numerous others injured, leaving the city shocked and many wondering about what's happening in New York City.
As of 7:20 p.m., at least eight people had been killed and approximately 12 others injured in the attack, which took place near the World Trade Center at approximately 3:05 p.m. An eyewitness told the AP that he saw "a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground."
"The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD," the New York City Police Department tweeted.
Another eyewitness told NBC News that he saw the attacker running near Chambers Street. "I heard five to six gunshots and then when the gunshots were happening, I didn’t see what happened on the road because I was scared," Tawhid Kabir Xisan, a student at a nearby college, told the outlet.
Six of the victims, who were all men, were pronounced dead at the scene and two others died later, according to NBC News. The attacker was said to be in grave condition and being treated at a nearby hospital, according to The New York Times.
At a press conference following the incident, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called it a "cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians."
"We know that this action was intended to break our spirit," De Blasio said. "But we also know New Yorkers are strong. New Yorkers are resilient and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence and an act meant to intimidate us."
The attack happened just hours ahead of the Village Halloween Parade, an event that includes thousands marching in their costumes through the city. The celebration calls itself the "nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event," and is a massive undertaking. The parade was still scheduled for the evening.
Federal authorities are leading the investigation into the attack, according to the Times. Law enforcement officials told the publication that the attacker is a 29-year-old who came to the U.S. in 2010, and that the van used in the attack was rented in New Jersey.
Both a pellet gun and a paint ball were recovered at the scene. Senior law enforcement officials told NBC News that the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" and fired had a pellet gun during the attack.
"There's no evidence to suggest a wider plot," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Students at Stuyvesant High School, located near the attack, told the Times that they saw the truck hit a school bus. New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill said that the collision with the bus injured at least two children and two adults who were inside, The Washington Post reported.
In the aftermath of the attack, several businesses and nearby schools were placed on lockdown. A parent of a student inside PS 234 said that she wasn't "consciously worried." "We were still nervous ... But your body doesn't believe it until he's in your arms," Lyn Rice told USA Today.
The attack took place on the lower area of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a popular stretch for joggers and bikers along the Hudson River that stretches 31 miles around the island. The West Side Highway, the thoroughfare that borders the path, was shut down Tuesday afternoon.
As many across the country began celebrating Halloween, the city was reeling from the tragedy.