Sayfullo Saipov has been charged with providing material support and resources to the Islamic State terrorist group, in connection with the truck attack in Manhattan that killed eight people. A second Uzbek man is being questioned in relation to the attack.
Saipov, 29, was formally accused Wednesday of killing at least eight people when he allegedly rammed a rented Home Depot truck into people on a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York City on Tuesday.
FBI assistant director William Sweeney said that the charges filed “should be taken as no indication that our work here is over,” and that authorities continue to investigate Saipov’s social network history and other leads to further understand his motivation.
“We will not stop until every last lead has been covered,” Sweeney said.
According to Reuters, the terrorist suspect verbally waived his “Miranda” rights while at Bellevue Hospital, where he was taken for treatment after being shot in the abdomen and apprehended by police Tuesday.
Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan living legally in the US since 2010, told law enforcement that Islamic State videos he watched on his cell phone inspired him to carry out the attack, US officials told Reuters.
US officials said that Saipov chose Tuesday to mount the attack because it was Halloween, and he expected more people to be out in public, Reuters reported.
The FBI has released a poster identifying Mukhammadzoir Kadirov as a second Uzbek man they are seeking for questioning in connection to Tuesday’s attack..
“We have found him,” FBI assistant director Sweeney clarified around 6:00pm Eastern time.
Saipov reportedly said he wanted to kill as many people as he could and intended to continue onto the Brooklyn Bridge where he would run over more pedestrians and cyclists. Saipov also said he made dry runs to practice driving and turning the pickup truck, according to the complaint.
Saipov was inspired to carry out the attack by Islamic State videos he had viewed on his cell phone, according to the criminal complaint. He was specifically motivated after he viewed a video in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, questioned what Muslims in the US and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.
Saipov asked for a flag of the Islamic State terrorist group to put up in his hospital room, and that he felt good about the attack, US authorities told Reuters.
Saipov planned the attack for a year and he decided to use a truck about two months ago, according to the complaint, the New York Times reported.
The charges Saipov is reportedly facing would be heard in a federal criminal court. He would not be considered an enemy combatant, which President Donald Trump said he favored during a meeting with his Cabinet earlier Wednesday. Trump added that Saipov could be sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp if he was classified as an enemy combatant.
Trump stated that it is not surprising that terrorist attacks happen, because the way the US justice system punishes terrorists is “a laughingstock.”
The complaint filed by the FBI in US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday charged Saipov with Provision of Material Support and Resources to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization; and Violence and Destruction of Motor Vehicles.
The Provision of Material Support and Resources statute carries a fine, or imprisonment of no more than 20 years, or both, “if the death of any person results, the offender will be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”
Saipov is also being charged under three statutes in relation to the Violence and Destruction of Motor Vehicles charge, and each one carries a different sentence.
The penalty under statute 2339B states Saipov will “be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both,” if he is found to have conspired, or willfully attempted to do any acts set forth in this statute.
The penalty under statute 34 states: “Whoever is convicted of any crime prohibited by this chapter, which has resulted in the death of any person, shall be subject also to the death penalty or to imprisonment for life,” according to the US Department of Justice.
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