NEW YORK — At least eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed down riders on a Lower Manhattan bike path in a terrorist attack, sources said.
Eyewitnesses told police the driver yelled “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running down helpless riders from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway rental truck.
The man was arrested after police shot him in the rear end after a Tribeca crash between the truck and a school bus. Sources said he was waving an air pistol and a BB gun when cops reached the scene.
The truck jumped the curb near Houston Street at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists, sources told the New York Daily News. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.
“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said eyewitness Eugene Duff, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West Street. “It was wrong.”
The off-duty chef watched in disbelief as the driver of the speeding truck ran down a pair of CitiBike riders about 50 feet apart, catching both from behind on the busy bike path alongside the Hudson River.
There were visible tire tracks on the bodies of the two victims as the truck continued to carve a path of carnage through the neighborhood, he said.
“I thought it was terrorism,” he said of the Tribeca attack. “That’s the first thing that crossed my mind.”
The arrest followed a crash involving the rented truck on West Street a few blocks north of the World Trade Center. Several eyewitnesses initially thought it was some sort of Halloween prank.
One person on the bus was critically injured and rushed to Bellevue Hospital. Authorities said five others on the bus were injured, with 15 injuries in all.
A horde of police vehicles and first responders descended on the scene as eyewitnesses reported hearing as many as 15 gunshots after the crash.
A police officer was apparently shot and suffered a minor injury. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, according to sources.
“I thought it was a Halloween [prank] or something,” said witness Tawhid Kabir, 20, of Queens. “I saw the gun[man] running in a circle and I realized it was serious.”
NYPD snipers took positions on the roof of the nearby City Vineyard restaurant as cops flooded the neighborhood.
“We thought the guns were fake and it was a Halloween prank,” said Stuyvesant High School student Laith Bahlouli, 14. “There was a car crash, and then he started to shoot.”
Classmate Alif Rahman, 14, said they heard “four to six gunshots” and then spied two bodies covered with blankets by the NYPD.
A child was seen sitting on the lap of an adult wearing a neck brace after the incident.
“We all heard the gunfire,” said witness Michael Corbin, who works at nearby District Council 37. “I heard distinctly five shots in quick succession.”
The truck was apparently rented from a Home Depot in Jersey City, N.J., making it likely the driver came through the Holland Tunnel.
Home Depot, in a statement, said they were cooperating fully with the mass killing investigation.
Witnesses reported seeing a gunman firing from inside the Home Depot tuck, and video showed a badly damaged truck from the home improvement store sitting on a median.
The smell of gunpowder hung in the air as police shut down the West Side Highway mid-afternoon on Halloween.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was briefed on the situation and confirmed that there was no active threat. President Donald Trump was also brought up to speed on the rampage.
Witness Frank Brito, 45, told the Daily News he saw two trucks crash into each other and then a heavyset man get out of one in a blue tracksuit and chase someone, firing five or six times.US