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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Terror Attack In NYC Leaves 8 Dead, Several Injured; Sources: NYC Suspect Is From Uzbekistan, Came To U.S. In 2010; Trump: Looks Like "Sick And Deranged Person"; Suspect ID'ed as Sayfullo Saipov. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 31, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much for watching. Erin Burnett "OutFront" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight the breaking news, the New York City terror attack just blocks from the World Trade Center. At least eight people are dead in Lower Manhattan, about a dozen were injured.
It was a horrific scene, a tangle of bikes and metal in the aftermath of the assault as a man drove a truck about 20 blocks down a busy bike path plowing into people, anyone, bicyclist, anybody who was there. The horror came to an end after the Home Depot rental truck that he was driving slammed into a school bus, just as a nearby school was letting out.
Four law enforcement sources say witness reported the suspected was yelling, Allahu Akbar, god is great is Arabic. All of this happening just after 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES P. O'NEIL, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: A male driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck entered the West Side Highway bicycle path at Houston Street, began driving southbound striking a number of pedestrians and bicyclists along the route. At Chambers Street, the truck collided with a school bus injuring two adults and two children.
After the collision, the driver of the truck, a 29-year-old male, exited the vehicle brandishing two handguns. A uniformed police officer sighted the first precinct confronted the subject and shot him in the abdomen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That man is in the hospital right now in surgery. We're learning more about him at this hour. He is expected to survive, so they're going to learn about him. Police know who he is and they know he is from Uzbekistan.
Let's begin with Brynn Gingras. She is at the scene right now. And, Brynn, what more are you learning about what happened there, this 20 block rampage?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, Erin. And, you know, I talked to people, the witnesses. I talked to authorities that were quickly on the scene and they both described the same thing and that is horror.
They said between the mangled bikes that you mentioned, between the people they heard screaming and they witnessed being injured and then other bodies laying there on the bike path on the West Side of New York City, that's the only word they could use to describe what this was.
But you mentioned the fact there that at 3:00 this afternoon we're told by authorities that a man driving a rental Home Depot truck entered from the West Side Highway over a barrier on to the bike path and drove at least 15 or so blocks south in the wrong direction mowing over people who were riding their bikes or running on that popular bike path before colliding with that school bus.
And in the end, eight people were killed, six people dead here on arrival here at the scene, two others died at the hospital, 11 others injured on that school bus. As you heard from that news conference, two people injured -- four people injured, rather, two adults and two children.
And when that person finally got out of the car, I heard from witnesses, they weren't even sure if this was a Halloween trick because he was holding what looked like two guns. We know authorities did recover a BB gun and also a paintball gun here at the scene.
I can also tell you that -- I talked to a high school senior. As you mentioned, Erin, school was just letting outside West Side high school which is where this all unfolded -- where it ended, rather. Students were being let out of class and she said she heard the gunshots, those of the police officer shooting at the suspect.
She ran back into her high school and took cover. She said she was in lockdown of her high school for about three hours or so and was taking pictures all the while showing those mangled bicycles and showing tarps over people that were killed. But, again, Erin, just a horrific unfolding chain of events here in New York City this afternoon.
BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much and truly horrific. You know, one eyewitness talking about just the horror of the scene and the tire tracks that he could see on the bodies of those who were killed.
Let's go to Crime and Justice Reporter Shimon Prokupecz. He is "OutFront". Shimon, I know you have been talking to your sources. You have some new information about this person, this attacker. What do you know?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes, that's right. Both, you know, our producer, David Shortell, and I, we've been talking to some officials. I've been talking to law enforcement officials who are saying that they identified the suspect. They say he's 29 years old. They believe he's Uzbekan national from Uzbekistan.
So the issue now is trying to figure out exactly where he lives. I've been told that he has an address in Tampa, Florida that police are investigating. But there is also some connection to New Jersey that officials are saying they're still trying to sort out.
It's not clear if that's where maybe he rented the pickup truck from the Home Depot, whether it was a Home Depot in New Jersey or maybe he was staying with someone in New Jersey. That's unclear to me.
[19:05] I have received two different pieces of information in New Jersey where he may have been staying with various -- apparently some connection to him in New Jersey as well. And I'm also told that authorities believe he came to the U.S in 2010.
BURNETT: I mean, there are so many questions and I know you're working in getting answers to all of these. You know, was he had -- he overstayed a visa? Do they know anything about his travel record? So many questions that you're working getting the answers to.
Shimon, I know that you have had a chance to talk to law enforcement about what we're seeing in some of these videos. A senior law enforcement official tells you that this appears to be what we're looking at here the suspect. That's here, yes.
PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's exactly right, Erin. And this is at the end of the incident where he crashed his pickup truck into a bus and then stopped and this is where police encountered him and at some point shot him. I'm told he was actually shot, shot, they believe now in the abdomen. And there is an exit wound. And so he was rushed into surgery.
But interestingly enough, they were able -- police were able to speak to him. They were with him as he was being brought into the hospital, into the operating room, and they were trying to talk to him. It's unclear what they have learned in those conversations.
BURNETT: All right, Shimon. And as you break this news, I know you're going to be back with us through the hour. Thank you.
I want to go now to John Williams, who is with me, arrived on the scene 30 seconds after the gunshot started. So you get to the scene when these gunshots just start. What did you see?
JOHN WILLIAMS, ARRIVED ON SCENE 30 SECONDS AFTER GUNSHOT STARTED: Well, what happened was I was walking down the side of West Side Highway on the bike path walking north and right away there's two women with a group of maybe 10 children are sprinting towards me. You know, I think just -- I think they are just kids running. I don't think much of it.
But as they pass me, I hear one of the young girls saying something about, He has a gun, he has a gun." So immediately I turn around because -- I mean, that's just what you would do if you hears one has a gun. But maybe 30 seconds to a minute after that, I hear a couple gunshots. That's maybe five gunshots, back to back to back, really fast.
So I immediately turn around. I want to go and see what happened. The first thing that stands out to me is when I first got there and it was just the whole, everything, just the smell of burning gun powder just really stuck out in my mind.
But then I saw one man who was laying face first on the ground. I believe he was the suspect. He appeared to be in pain --
BURNETT: After he was shot in the abdomen.
WILLIAMS: -- abdomen, yes. I also saw another man who was next to him who the police were putting him in handcuffs. He wasn't resisting, anything like that. He was on his knees. He had his hands behind his head. Everything seemed fine. So I'm not sure who that man was. This was all about 20 feet away from the Home Depot pickup truck.
BURNETT: Which at that point is mangled.
WILLIAMS: They still -- yes. The entire front of it is completely pushed in. There's smoke coming out of it.
BURNETT: And when you saw the -- those two men, one of which you think was the suspect, were they saying anything? Any look on their face? Anything you can describe about them?
WILLIAMS: Not much that I can hear. They said the one -- the man that was on the ground appeared to be in pain and the other man, he wasn't resisting. He wasn't, you know, trying to run at that point or anything like that.
The really interesting thing that happened, in my opinion, is during all of this, one of the police officers claimed that there was another suspect who happened to run into the park. And at that point, you know, five to 10 officers all ran into the park looking for this person. Then at that time also, the rest of the police officers that were on scene gathered everyone up and made us go across the street, you know, keep everyone safe.
BURNETT: Right. But they were at that point just really trying to figure out what was happening and whether there was someone else on accomplish or something.
WILLIAMS: Yes. They were just trying to figure out what was going on. Everything got blocked off. There were, you know, from every direction, the roads were blocked off. The police were coming from every angle.
WILLIAMS: It was a chaos.
BURNETT: All right. Well, John, thank you very much. WILLIAMS: You're welcome.
BURNETT: I appreciate you telling us what you saw.
And I want to go with that straight to our panel, who are going to be with me throughout the hour. Bob Baer, former CIA Operative, Juliette Kayyem, the former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Paul Cruickshank, a Terrorism Analyst, and Art Roderick, U.S. Marshals former Assistant Director for Investigations. Thanks very much to all of you.
Let me just start here with what we know and what we don't know. Art, we know that he is an Uzbek national. He's 29 years old. He came to this country in year 2010. We have no idea whether he was still here legally, had overstayed a visa, had gone anywhere to travel. We know nothing, except for that law enforcement are saying that witnesses on the scene say he yelled Allahu Akbar as he got out of the vehicle. What is all this say to you, Art?
ART RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. MARSHALS: Well, it says to that's what we in the public don't know. But I'm pretty sure at this particular point, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force does know a lot of these questions that you just asked.
RODERICK: Now the JTTF, I mean, you got to remember, they're just not in Manhattan or in New York. There's over 100 of them around the country.
[19:10:07] But I can tell you right now, there's police and communication being put out to all those different terrorism task forces not only describing what occurred here, but also if there's any leads in their particular area that need to be followed up on. And that's the key part of how we now communicate with these incidences in the United States.
BURNETT: Right. And -- because, Juliette, we don't know. I mean, you just heard John who was there saying, you know, that at the moment, right, the suspect appeared to be on the ground after he was shot and then police were running across the street to a park thinking someone else might have been there.
At the moment, we understand this to likely be a single operator, but there are a lot of questions about this person, lone wolf motivation. Other than the Allahu Akbar, that's all we have right now.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes. We don't know two significant details which are relevant for this investigation. The first is, of course, are there co-conspirators? So he may have been acting alone today, but did someone help him rent the truck. You know, who did he talk to about it? Did this require planning? Now from the looks of it, this does not require much planning. So it is very possible that he acted solely alone, rented the truck and did this alone. The second question, of course, the big one is what were his ties to any radicalization process either online or travel? That too is being investigated right now. We know -- and Paul will probably speak to this in greater detail that they're, you know, that ISIS is not taken credit for this but they are, you know, these ISIS networks are sort of heralded and celebrating what happened.
There was a Halloween statement, a statement about attacks on Halloween by a French-aligned ISIS groups, so that's basically where the investigation will lead both internally, domestically what happened and then, of course, the international ties.
BURNETT: And Bob, let me just show the video, again, that we have that law enforcement tell our Shimon Prokupecz is -- as we see it here, they believe this to be the suspect. It's hard to tell whether he's wearing a jacket and pants or some sort of a jump suit or -- but he's running and this is after he gets out of that rented Home Depot truck. Did he plan to survive and get away? Does it look that way to you, Bob?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I don't think he did. I think he knew there would be police all over. He got those fake guns out so he would be shot. He looks -- it looks like to me he was -- wanted martyrdom, whether he was affiliated with the Islamic state or al- Qaeda, it doesn't really matter. I think he planned to die, take as many people with him.
You know, as Juliette was saying, this is probably a lone wolf attack. It doesn't take much. You just get on the internet, look for your permission to take a car like in Berlin and Paris, and you rent a car and start using at soft target like New York City or any urban area in the United States and you've got a major attack.
And there's not much the FBI can do about it because there's no Islamic state to get in touch with to get this approved or coordinated the rest of it. And it just comes out of the blue and it's just a horrible, horrible tragedy. And I think we're going to find out that it was nobody's fault. Nobody could have stopped this.
BURNETT: I mean that's the thing, Paul. It just depends whether law enforcement had any idea who this individual was, whether he's -- you know, obviously with the Tsarnaev brothers. We had gotten -- there was information, right? They had been on lists. They have been things and signs that perhaps were missed. In this case we don't know any of that at this point.
But we know he's been in this country since the year 2010, so somewhere around seven years. And we don't know, again, why he -- whether he overstayed a visa or whether he was here fully legally. We just do not know this information. We do know, though, that he was an Uzbek national.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That's right, Erin. And one of the things they'll be investigating is potential travel back and forth to Uzbekistan. There has been a significant problem with Jihadism in Uzbekistan. There are two large Jihadi groups there. One of them, the Islamic movement in Uzbekistan is affiliated with ISIS. They are up to 1,500 Uzbeks that have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join Jihadi groups over there.
And there's a lot of Jihadi propaganda in Uzbek that is out there. In fact, just a few months ago in Stockholm, there was another truck attack in which an Uzbek national inspired by ISIS was involve d. That was in April of this year in Stockholm.
So they'll be looking at potential foreign travel, potential international connections. They'll also be looking at whether this individual might have been in touch with an ISIS operative overseas over encrypted apps. But it's very, very difficult for authorities to ascertain that because it's encrypted.
BURNETT: And let me just say that on this note of the suspect, we had shown another picture, and I want to show it again. This is just a sort of still photo of him on the street. You saw him running a minute, a still photo.
Juliette, I want to show it because it's hard to exactly say, but it looks like when you see this up close as it zooms in, that he has a very heavy beard.
[19:15:08] KAYYEM: You know -- I mean, Erin, I'd like to give something illuminating about that, but I think at this stage, you know, we should probably follow, you know, sort of the content of who he might have been in contact with and what that, you know, what that might have meant in terms of planning for this.
I mean, the beard, obviously, might be interpreted one way in terms if he has ties to Islamic group --
KAYYEM: -- have been -- yes, religious groups, but it is just too hard to tell at this stage.
I know people want answers early. It's the hardest thing for analysts to say we just, you know, admit we just don't know at this stage. But it's obviously a piece of the picture right now.
And as Bob said, you know, the fact that these were fake guns, this was a man who, you know, suicide by cop in some way. He did not expect to live. It would be my, sort of quick impression.
BURNETT: And all of you are going to stay with me. And the fact that he did live obviously is hugely significant. So many with these horrible attacks that we've seen, Europe and elsewhere, there isn't someone to question afterwards and in this case, there is. He is expected to survive. He is in the hospital in Manhattan right now.
Our breaking news coverage continues. Security is tight. Officials pledging not to let up in the aftermath of the latest attack. There is a major parade and event beginning momentarily right here in New York City. And President Trump responding to the attack calling the suspect sick and deranged using the tragedy to call out ISIS. And breaking news on the Russia investigation this hour, a top person in the President's inner circle set to be interviewed by Robert Mueller's team.
[19:20:24] BURNETT: Welcome back to "OutFront." We are following breaking news on the terror attack right here in New York City. At least eight people are dead, multiple people injured after a truck driver slammed into bicyclists in a bike lane. The attack coming just hours before New York City's major Halloween parade. Officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, are vowing a major boost in security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We will be vigilant. More police everywhere. You'll see them in the airports. You'll see them in the tunnels. We're not going to let them win. And if we change our lives, we contort ourselves to them, then they win and we lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jason Carroll is "OutFront." And, Jason, look, this is the sort of thing that many people had said would be a horrific attack and could happen. It did not happen for years and years after it happen in so many other places. It is not yet happens here until today.
What is New York City doing tonight to secure this major parade where you're going to have thousands and thousands of people on the streets to secure it after the terror attack?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, thousands of people -- you're absolutely correct. And the staging area actually not that far from where we are right now at Sixth Avenue and Canal just about 15 blocks, that's also in Downtown Manhattan as well for folks who aren't familiar with that.
But you heard the governor, you heard city and state officials encouraging people to go along with their lives, to be vigilant. And what the NYPD will do will -- what they are going to do is increase the police presence there.
They didn't give numbers, Erin, but what they did do is give a sort of list of what folks who are coming out to the parade might expect and that included several things. Not only more officers on the streets, but heavy weapons teams are going to be lining the parade route, especially along key and iconic sites along Sixth Avenue.
Also something that's called blocker vehicles, these are sort of heavy vehicles that will be stationed along streets meeting into and out of Sixth Avenue along the parade route, that way vehicles that aren't supposed to be on that street won't be able to get there. And also, sand trucks will be there as well.
So once again, you're going to have an increased presence of heavily armed officers, some of those blocker trucks, sand trucks along the parade route, as well that parade just getting underway just around 7:00 tonight, expected to end around 11:00 tonight.
And you heard the governor there, same thing that we heard before that's been echoed so many, many times in the past, asking folks to be vigilant, but also asking New Yorkers as they have been asked so many times in the past to go on with their lives. That's what they are attempting to do tonight. They're going to be doing it under a heavy police presence. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you.
And President Trump speaking out on this attack moments ago in a series of tweets saying, "In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. Not in the USA!"
He also said, "We must not allow ISIS to return or enter our country after feeding them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!" And then, "My thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you."
Let's go now to Athena Jones. She's at the White House tonight. And, Athena, what more are we hearing from the White House about this tragedy right now?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Well, that last tweet from the President coming just a few minutes before the hour. And just a few minutes ago, the White House putting out a statement from the President reiterating some of those tweets saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of today's the terrorist attacks."
The President went on to say, "My administration will provide its full support to the New York City Police Department, including through a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation." The statement goes on to thank the first responders. And, of course, we know that President was briefed on this incident some time ago by Chief of Staff John Kelly. He's going to get continual updates as the situation develops.
And we should mention that the first lady, Melania Trump, was in New York today for meetings. She put out a tweet a while ago saying, "My heartbreaks for NYC today. Thoughts and prayers as we monitor the situation."
Melania Trump just one of several members of the Trump family to tweet about this incident, including his daughter, Ivanka, his son, Don Jr., and Don Jr.'s wife, Vanessa. So this is something the White House is going to be closely watching. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Athena.
My panel is back with me. Let's just start here. We have just confirmed the breaking news at this moment, Art, that the suspect rented that truck at a Home Depot in New Jersey today.
[19:25:09] So, what does that tell you? Obviously, he had -- not had it for a period of time. And even though we know he have links to Florida, it's not as if he rented it there or anywhere along the way. He was in New Jersey and he rented it there today. You can see the condition it was in after his rampage there on the video.
RODERICK: I think, you know, we always ask what the motive is here. You know, right now, we're hearing the motive is a terror attack. But what triggered him to do that today? I mean, we're starting to get ready to enter into the heavy holiday season. You know, there's going to be gatherings of people in a lot of locations.
Why did he pick today? Was it because today is Halloween and he knew a lot of people were going to be out there? Luckily he didn't do this later. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. And although there's a lot of people around, they wouldn't have been around, you know, much more people later tonight that would have been out enjoying the parade and the festivities.
But this is going to be taking apart this case completely and putting this individual's life together for at least the last five years since he's been -- or seven years since he's in the United States.
So this is going to take some time, but I'm sure they've already peeled back this onion far enough and they can at least figure out, you know, what's the real motive behind this and what caused him to do this today.
BURNETT: And, Juliette, that is the big question. What caused him to do it today? And also, where he chose to do it? It wasn't just that it was New York City. It is just a couple blocks away from Ground Zero, the scene of course at 9/11.
We know he has links to Florida. We don't know if he was living there or what or whether he was living in New Jersey, even though we do now know he rented the truck there today. But the location here obviously could be hugely significant as well, right?
KAYYEM: That's right. And remember before 9/11, of course, the World Trade Center had been attacked in the 1990s. And so, you know, he is alive. We don't know what condition he's in. And so he sort of forms the center of a series of investigations that are going to be domestic, New York. We've already mentioned New York, Florida and New Jersey. And then, of course, international ties to Uzbekistan or anyone else.
I should say you know, Uzbekistan, -- I mean, this is the challenge that Bob was talking about. I don't think Bob means to sound fatalistic. I found the say way, which is the challenge is you have these guys radicalizing potentially and we have multiple soft targets because we love living in cities like New York City. That is the benefit as well.
And so one of the challenges with the way we talk about terrorism now for example is Uzbekistan is, of course, not on the travel ban list, right, because this, you know, the radicalization process isn't tied to a country. It's tied to a mentality about how these men are thinking about the world.
And until we begin to understand that, we are going to focus our counterterrorism efforts on countries, rather than a radicalization process, which even if we could stop it, it is never going to get the risk down to zero.
KAYYEM: The benefit of living in New York City is sort of, you know, the flow. People are out and about.
BURNETT: What does this mean, though, Bob, in terms of this is the sort of thing that has happened elsewhere? I mean, there's a long list of places where people have done vehicular attacks, right, whether you're talking about in France, or whether you're talking about in Germany. This has happened -- but now that this has happened in New York City. This is the first time.
BAER: Well, Erin, you know, I think we talked about this last week with the fall of Raqqah. You can have a lot of people sympathizing with the Islamic state, whether they're in direct touch or not. And they are going to look at this as a great defeat for Sunni Islam. And they don't recognize our government as a legitimate government in this country. There should be a government of Islam and they are radicalized, of course.
And all they really need to do is find a weapon. And the easiest weapon to find -- or weapons, easily available like box cutters and airliners on 9/11 and now its trucks. And they can get the same number of casualties as they can instead of using acetone and peroxide bombs and they know this. And they are learning. They are learning to stay off the internet communicating with the Islamic state or other groups.
I think Paul is right. We'll find out there is connections between this man and other groups as they look into it, but they are not obvious connections, which makes it so difficult to get.
And what do you do about somebody? You know, you can watch truck rentals, but then they're going to start stealing trucks. And we are just very, very vulnerable, especially a large city likes New York City.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, we don't know, again, Paul, just to emphasize anything about, you know, when Juliette, I think (INAUDIBLE) raised the point here that Uzbekistan wouldn't be covered by the travel ban.
Well, this guy has already been in the country for seven years. Now, again, we don't know his travel in and out. We have no idea and that obviously possibly end up being very significant. But the reality of it is, is that it's already here.
CRUICKSHANK: That's right. And in fact, as we reported in (INAUDIBLE), there was a DHS assessment on people getting involved in violent extremism --
[19:30:01] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: But the reality of it is, is that it's already here.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That's right. And in fact, as we reported in March, there was a DHS assessment of people getting involved in violence extremism in the United States. And they found the majority of people actually were radicalized after arriving in the United States in terms of foreign-born people.
So, there's a problem in the United States. People have access to this jihadi propaganda over the internet, over social media. There are ISIS cyber coaches in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. Also, Libya reaching out to Americans all the time trying to encourage them to launch terrorist attacks.
So, we're going to have to wait and see where this individual was radicalized, whether they had any overseas connections. They will be looking at all those foreign travel patterns after they did the same thing with the Boston bombings, where there was travel back and forth to the Dagestan region. So, all of that now is being investigated, Erin.
BURNETT: And obviously, Juliette, the similarity to Boston with the survivor, right? You have the attacker here who has survived. We understand out of surgery, right? So, they have someone to question, someone is going to be punished, according to the full extent of the law for this.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Look, the public safety exception to the Miranda will apply to make sure there's no threat to New York. I have every reason to believe the mayor and the police commissioner that there isn't. And then the sort of more familiar legal proceedings will occur. And in that process, the investigation will be ongoing in terms of co-conspirators.
That to me is really sort of the open question and it really has to do with the van. And that will be determined relatively quickly. Was someone with him? Did someone help him? Did he use his driver's license? Once you determine it's just him, then you're really only looking at, as Paul was describing, a potential radicalization process with others abroad.
BURNETT: Bob, you know, one of the things, though, when you look at the images here -- you know, we mentioned this, there was a school bus. And the two adults and two children on that school bus survived. Eight others obviously were slaughtered, were killed by this terrorist.
But there was a school bus that was hit. People were able to get out of it. You see the bikes, the mangled bikes. This is someone who just got on a bike path in a major city and just plowed down.
This is a city, right? It happens to be the biggest city in the United States, but any city is full of pedestrians and bikes and strollers and people going about their lives. And that is what is now at risk because from what we know about this guy, which is nothing leading into this, the question is, how can you stop it?
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: You can't. You can't put up stanchions or HESCO barriers and the rest of it. If New York City does, then they will move it to Cleveland, Ohio, and then to Los Angeles.
And these people are very mobile. They've got money. They are dedicated. And the car is everywhere. It's omnipresent and it's lethal and probably the way it looks to me is that school bus when he hit the school bus stopped this attack. You know, he could have kept ongoing and it could have been a lot worse than eight people.
And, you know, this is a horrible, hideous problem we have here. And as long as these problems in the Middle East continue, we're going to be facing this danger and I predict there will be more attacks like this.
BURNETT: All right. Let me just also raise something that some people may not want to hear, but I'm going to say it any way. That is this was a horrific attack. He had two guns. It was a BB gun and paintball gun. Even either of those had been a real gun, a lot more people could have been killed.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, and I think that's a good add on to Bob's point. That bus stopped him from continuing driving that vehicle and killing more people. I mean, there's no doubt this was -- this was a suicide attack. It was going to be suicide by cop.
Any time you commit a crime and pull out a fake handgun, you're only looking for one thing. A law enforcement officer to shoot you. And that's exactly what occurred here. And I think because this individual is alive, this is the best piece of evidence we have as to what's going on in this individual's head and what's going on in his life and where he traveled to.
So, I think we've got -- we're lucky he didn't get gunned down. It's horrible that he killed as many people that he did. He probably could have killed a lot more if it wasn't for hitting the school bus. But he's the best piece of evidence we have in it this whole crime right now.
BURNETT: Juliette, what comes next for the Trump administration? This is a crucial moment. The president is now saying not in the United States. He's going to stop them in the Middle East and elsewhere before they come to the United States.
[19:35:00] This is a crucial moment for him.
KAYYEM: It is. And it has two pieces. One is operational, which is going to go on whoever the president is. It's the FBI -- lead FBI investigation, resources of the Department of Homeland Security to educate state and locals. All that stuff that sort of goes regardless of politics.
Then, there's going to be a political side. So what the president has said so far is sort of, you know, calling it terrorism or talking about ISIS. So there will be a political consequence. As we have seen, the Trump administration is more prone to make politics out of this kind of terrorism than they would say with Las Vegas where many more people died.
So, you know, I can't predict how this is going to sort of become a political moment, but this will be a moment where Donald Trump will likely talk about Islamic terrorism and those abroad. And just to remind people again, you know, this idea of a travel ban, you know, he's already here. That's one.
And number two, he's not on the right country list. So, the idea that we can stop all of this, we have to brace ourselves, and prepare ourselves, but the idea that we can stop it through politics is just not going to happen.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much, staying with me.
And next, the witnesses. This was a very busy area. There were a lot of people there. They are telling us what they saw as the attack unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the bike lane, clearly in the bike lane. I see when I go down I see two gentlemen laying in the bike lane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And we'll take you through the attack as the suspect moved from one block to the next terrorizing people block after block.
[19:40:04] BURNETTT: Breaking news, the terror attack in New York City.
We have new details just coming in about the attack in Lower Manhattan. Eight people were killed, about dozen more injured after a speeding truck plowed into a bike path for about 20 blocks. The driver trying to plow people over, bicyclists, runners, all on that path. One witness describing what he saw moments after the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I looked out and I see a truck going down towards chambers street. I'm saying what's going on. I go down more and he's in the bike lane. Clearly in the bike lane. And I see -- when I go down, I see two gentlemen laying right there in the bike lane with tire marks across their body. And you can tell that they're not here no more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The truck then eventually collided with a school bus, which could have saved lives because the school bus essentially blocked it. The people on the inside were injured but are alive.
Witnesses say the suspect got out of the vehicle then after striking the school bus yelling "Allahu Akbar". And we were also learning the suspect just rented that truck today in New Jersey.
The suspect was shot by an officer. He's now out of surgery. He's expected to survive.
We have more breaking news on the suspect and I want to get to all of that. I want to go to the ground right now.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
And, Brynn, what more are you learning about the suspect?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we have learned that he is a 29-year-old originally from Uzbekistan. But he came to the U.S. in 2010. Most recently living in Tampa, Florida. Some of that information coming from the fact that he had a Florida ID on him when he was arrested at the scene, really not far from where we're standing right now.
We know authorities did -- were able to apprehend him after shooting him. Witnesses describe the gunshots, he was shot the in the abdomen and then, of course, brought to a nearby hospital where he mentioned that he has just gone out of surgery.
But a lot of information still coming in. At a news conference not long ago, Governor Cuomo talked about the nature of the terrorist attacks, how there are -- you know, requests for these lone wolf attacks and said at this point, preliminary information shows this was not part of a larger plot, but, of course, we're only about four hours or so into this investigation. We'll certainly be learning more, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brynn.
And I want to go back to our crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, who is breaking a lot of this news.
And, Shimon, I know you're learning more about this truck rental. What else are investigators telling you?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. So, investigators believe that it was some time today that he rented a truck and may have been a short time before the attack.
The way the vehicle was traveling south on the West Side Highway suggests and I'm told that's what authorities believe that he was coming from New Jersey en route down the West Side Highway when he then launched the attack., hopping over this curve and on to this bike path.
So, they are basically now investigators are building a time line and they know where he came from. They know some of his movement. They know he has a residence in Florida, in Tampa, and now the question is, what is the connection to New Jersey? How did he get to New Jersey where he rented this Home Depot pickup truck from?
So, the question really is -- and also the location. They are still trying to figure out was this a spur of the moment type thing. Was he driving down the West Side Highway and saw an opening and decided to launch this attack? That's still also part of the investigation.
And also most importantly probably is they want to make sure that no one else is involved and make sure that he's not working with anyone else. That's an ongoing process for the FBI right now.
BURNETT: An interesting point you raise, Shimon, which is that they don't know to what extent this was premeditated or spur of the moment. They simply do not know.
On this issue, though, of truck rentals, this is something that obviously has happened in other places. We have seen it in Germany, we've seen it France, we've seen it elsewhere. We have not seen it here.
And the deputy commissioner, John Miller, for counterterror here was asked about the specific issue and the truck rental. And I think what he had to say moments ago at this press conference is very important. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, NYPD: We did extensive outreach to the truck rental business. We visited over 148 truck rental locations in this area. The obvious ones and talked about suspicious indicators, ways to come forward. So, the industry has had a high level of awareness on this matter from the NYPD.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Shimon, high level of awareness, but nothing can stop someone who comes in seemingly innocuously and rents this vehicle. Although, again, at this point, we don't know if there's anything that could have stood out.
PROKUPECZ: That's right. And, you know, this is a great point that you're raising, Erin, and I'm happy you played that sound there.
[19:45:01] Funny enough or maybe, you know, coincidental, I was talking to a law enforcement official about that. They are perplexed, because the NYPD since 9/11 has spent a lot of time working with the local community, local businesses, hotels, truck companies, hardware stores, going to them quite often saying if you see anything suspicious, let us know.
They have a special program dedicated to that so that the owners, the workers of these hardware stores, places like home depot, can call them directly very quickly. There's just a number they call. They answer. They respond to almost every possible threat, anything suspicious, they respond. It's one of the best programs that the NYPD has. I know they have
shared this program with other law enforcement.
BURNETT: Shimon, I'm just wondering, we don't know at this point if they got a call or didn't get a call. We just don't know, right?
PROKUPECZ: No, I mean, it doesn't sound like they got a call that this person was under the radar, on anyone's radar.
PROKUPECZ: Usually what happens if the truck company is suspicious about Home Depot or whatever, hardware store maybe is suspicious, they will usually delay maybe renting something or selling someone something or may just flatly deny it. They would call the NYPD, the intelligence division, and the intelligence division would then respond and investigate.
BURNETT: All right. Shimon, thank you very much.
And next, we're going to break down exactly what happened so you can see the location, see exactly how this attack happened block by block.
And the breaking news on the Russia investigation. One of Trump's top lieutenants about to be interviewed.
BURNETT: Breaking news: you're looking at pictures of One World Trade Center, this fire lit tonight in red, white and blue in honor of freedom and democracy which were attacked today after a 29-year-old suspect killed eight people along a bike path here in New York City.
[19:50:04] I want to show you what happened here. This is essentially the corner of Houston Street and the West Side Highway. This is where the suspect drove on the bike path. The bike path is over here.
And as you can see, completely unguarded, there aren't barricades or anything like this. The whole point is it's accessible for a lot of people to come to. The route then that this attacker, this 29-year- old man from Uzbekistan drove starts up here and drove down about 20 blocks. Twenty blocks is about one mile. He drove and was able to do so un-apprehended.
The bike path itself, just so the highway here along side it, no bar areas and a few trees. This is where the bike path is. Which this is an old picture but obviously on a day like today, a beautiful fall day was packed with people and this is where it ended and this is how it ended as you can see. That Home Depot truck completely smashed in the front. That was the vehicle that the 29-year-old attacker/terrorist used to attack and kill innocent people who are just out on a bike path on a beautiful Halloween day.
My panel is back with me.
And that, Juliette, is what is so striking. The whole point about a place like this is about accessibility and people being able to come out and leaving their lives and that's what they were doing. And I guess we can only hope that some of them had absolutely no idea what hit them.
KAYYEM: Yes, it's the hardest thing to accept in the open environment like ours that you're never going to get the vulnerability to zero. And we sort of have to sort of adapt to that. I mean, what homeland security is about minimizing risks. So, that's why we worry about terrorism but it's also about maximizing defenses, where we can, like when you go into a football stadium.
But it's also the last piece which is maintaining who we are as citizens, as people who live in New York City who like to 'go bike riding. And you're never going to get, you know, if you want to have all three, you're never going to get it to zero. It's so hard to admit to ourselves, because of the fear factor of terrorism.
KAYYEM: But, on the other hand we have been successful in stopping major attacks and that the kind of attacks we are facing look like this, that it is not a success but it is certainly something that was part of our counterterrorism strategy over the last 15 years.
BURNETT: And, Bob Baer, we don't yet know the motive here. We know he yelled "Allahu Akbar", right? Everyone is jumping to the assumption, it's been treated as an act of terror.
We don't know yet, though, and I think this is important, which Shimon was just reporting. We don't know whether he rented the truck he came in plan to do this at this location or suddenly he decided in moment of opportunity to drive across. We just simply don't know.
BAER: We don't know. The first story's always wrong and there are going to be new details that are going to come out. But the fact he has these guns, jumped out. Rented a truck, he's from Uzbekistan, it's a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism -- you know, all of these things started to add up and right now, it looks like Islamic terrorism, maybe the Islamic State.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
We take a brief break and our breaking news coverage, we continue with the breaking news on the terror attack and the Russian probe. One of the Trump's top lieutenant, the breaking news about to take the question from Bob Mueller's team.
[19:55:18] BURNETT: And we have breaking news. A significant development here in the story the New York terror attack.
Let's go to Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, you now know the name of who this person is. PROKUPECZ: That's right. We're now -- we're now reporting the
suspect's name. Just bear with me here, his name is Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. We're told he has a Tampa, Florida address.
I'm also being told that law enforcement is interested in some locations, perhaps areas of New Jersey. We know he rented a truck today in New Jersey and so I'm being told the FBI has now added New Jersey, and I'm also told by the NYPD and by NYPD law enforcement officials that east New Jersey is of interest to them at this point.
But they have had his name for quite sometime and they have been in locations in Tampa where he's from interviewing families and friends. Really the main point for this is to make sure that no one here was helping him and that is where investigators are. They have their suspect. Now, the question is, was he working with anyone?
BURNETT: And stay with me, if you will, Shimon. Obviously, important as you're saying, this attack happened at 3:00. They've already been on the ground in Tampa interviewing family and friends.
If you can stay with me, Bob Baer is with me, obviously, a CIA operative. John Avlon joins me, who worked for Rudy Giuliani in 9/11. He's also editor of "The Daily Beast".
Bob, your reaction, though, first to this. First of all, the name, Sayfullo Saipov, if I'm saying it correctly, and the fact that they've been on the ground. This happened at 3:00, it's not yet 8:00. They've been on the ground in Tampa interviewing family and friends.
BAER: Well, they can get to the family right away. Look, but you have to keep in mind, Erin, is the Uzbek community in this country, and in Uzbekistan, especially the fundamentalists, are one of the most (INAUDIBLE) communities in the world. They're very hostile to the West.
I used to work there in the '90s. It's a nightmare for an intelligent service and it's going to be a nightmare for the FBI to try to get to the bottom of this Uzbek community. And that's just a fact. You know, they'd like the Chechens, very difficult intelligence nut to crack.
BURNETT: And, of course, now, they're just starting down that path.
John, this is -- you know, you obviously were there on 9/11. This is the sort of thing that every since and more recent years with ISIS using vehicles have been a great fear in New York City and other cities around the United States. But tonight, this is the first time someone has actually done it.
JOHN AVLON, THE DAILY BEAST: And that's a remarkable testament to the law enforcement community, to the NYPD. There had been multiple threats and plots that have been stopped but this guy got true with a car, which is one of the most difficult thing to defend against, targeting incident civilians biking and jogging at 3:00 in the afternoon on Halloween.
It is a bloody scene. It is a harrowing scene because it's hundreds of yards away from the site of the former World Trade Center.
AVLON: We'll find out because he seems to be in custody.
BURNETT: Something which does not seem to be a coincidence at all, I think we should emphasize.
AVLON: It does not seem to be a coincidence. But the city is strong, the mayor and the police commissioner were forthright about calling this terror early on. And now, we have what we rarely have in this incidence, which is a suspect caught to get more information. And that's a potential treasure trove to get inside the mind of evil.
BURNETT: And, Bob Baer, that is the crucial point. Shimon Prokupecz has just reported that Sayfullo Saipov, his name, has come out of surgery. So they are now questioning him. They are going to -- I mean, how does that go from here? It's still in the hospital, where does that go from here?
BAER: These guys over time are breakable. He'll start giving up contacts, spiritual leaders, people that agree with him on various things, whether it's Tampa, New Jersey or the rest of it. This will lead to arrest, we will break down. If there's a cell, it will get broken down overtime, but the question is, where are the other cells that are connected?
These people operate fairly independently. There's no central authority and you can't bring these cells down all at one go. That's the problem.
BURNETT: And does it, Bob, you know, bring others out of the shadows?
BAER: It will. What scares law enforcement right now are copycats. And as we've been talking about, all major urban areas are vulnerable and impossible to protect. It's impossible to get into the mind of these people from the FBI just watching from a distance, in the mosque and all over the Internet. And they are all other these people but, you know, it's tough, it's a tough one.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, tonight, as we said, we now know the identity of the 29-year-old Uzbekistan national, the Uzbek national, who committed this terrific terror attack in New York City.
Our breaking news coverage continues now with "AC360".