Return to Transcripts main page


Now: NYPD And FBI Update On NYC Terror Attack; Mayor: This Was An Attack On Our Values. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 11:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- in New Jersey after coming to the United States in 2010. He was shot by a New York City police officer. He underwent surgery. He is now recovering and we are told he is talking to investigators.

A senior law enforcement official tells CNN a note was found near the truck, claiming that the killing spree was done in the name of ISIS. President Trump has been speaking out this morning on Twitter, calling the attacker sick and deranged, and also saying that he has ordered homeland security to ramp up what he calls the extreme vetting of people entering the United States.

And he is also placing some blame this morning. We will get to that. But first, let's begin here with Jean Casarez. She's at the site of the attack with the very latest. Jean, what do you have?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is law enforcement had told CNN that search warrant or warrants had been executed at the suspect's home in New Jersey throughout the night and now we do have some video on that.

As you can see, this is the New Jersey home. Potential evidence being brought out of that home. Law enforcement has also confirmed that he lives, the suspect, lives in this home with his wife and three children.

Also expected today, search warrants to be executed on the truck, which is still at the primary crime scene, one and a half blocks away from where I am right now, as well as his own vehicle, which is at Home Depot, which he left when he rented the Home Depot pickup truck.

Now, law enforcement is also telling us that they are looking at social media sites. And that investigators have found social media linked to the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, and those sites are also linked to ISIS-related material.

What is actually on there, we do not know. But what we also understand is that the suspect, before and after his surgery last night, investigators were talking to him, trying to talk to him, possibly asking him important questions. And what we are learning is that --

BOLDUAN: All right. We're going to jump over to this press conference starting right now. Thank you so much, Jean. We'll take you there. JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: -- some of the things we've learned overnight. We'll get an update on the injured from FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro, and you'll hear from Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. I want to thank for being here, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, June Kim, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Commissioner Roger Perino is here from the New York State Homeland Security, and then Joe Esposito, the commissioner of OEM is here also. I would also like to thank the state police for being here today and for everything they did yesterday.

Chief of department, Carlos Gomez, is going to lay out some of the security plans we have in place in light of yesterday's event and ahead of Sunday's New York City marathon, and we'll also give you an update on the traffic situation on the west side.

Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the New York Office of the FBI, will make a statement, and then John Miller, deputy commissioner of Intel and Counterterrorism will share with you some of the details about the work that we're doing on this case.

You have to understand that this investigation is still in its infancy. We do not yet have all the answers and there are details today and there'll be more down the road. And not everything we're going to be able to share with you.

You understand that, in terms of casualties, this was the worst terror attack in New York City since September 11th, 2011. I want to take a minute to commend all New Yorkers, I want to commend everyone who lives in, works in, and visits our great city because no one in this city is complacent.

We saw the strength of that resolve last night with the very large crowds that attended the Annual Halloween Parade in the Village and we'll see it again on Sunday, when 50,000 people compete in a marathon and another 2.5 million people cheer them along the route.

The NYPD, the FBI, and all of our law enforcement and private sector partners remembers our past. And we work very, very hard together, each and every day to prevent the type of thing that occurred here yesterday.

What happened yesterday was not OK and it will never something any of us will just accept as inevitable. Since 9/11, we again along with our partners at the local, state, and federal level have disrupted or prevented two dozen plots against New York City.

Countless lives have been saved. But none of that matters when eight innocent lives are taken by a criminal, committing a cowardly act, driving a rental truck. We are working hard to get to the bottom of exactly what happened yesterday and why and we're working tirelessly to prevent anything like this from getting repeated.

I tell you as often as I can that true public safety is a shared responsibility. Law enforcement, government agencies, are doing what we can, and the men and women who work with us do it better than anyone, anywhere in the world, but we need everyone's help.

There are more than 8.5 million people in New York City, plus all the people who commute in every day and all the tourists. That's a minimum of 17 million extra eyes and ears and gut feelings that can remain vigilant on behalf of all of us.

[11:05:06] And I talk about this all the time. If you see something out there that doesn't look right, if it makes you uncomfortable, you have an obligation to make a call or to flag down a police car. At least give us the opportunity to investigate that.

I want to thank everyone for their ongoing help today and every day and thank you again for this swift response yesterday by the NYPD officers, the New York State Police, the firefighters, and EMS workers, who did a really great job under the circumstances.

And right now, let me introduce FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro. Dan is going to give you an update on the injuries from yesterday, Dan.

DANIEL NIGRO, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: Thank you. And I'm going to be very nonspecific regarding the privacy of the victims. There were 20 victims to -- at yesterday's attack. Six of them were pronounced dead at the scene. We transported 14 victims to three hospitals.

Two of those victims were pronounced, so the total number of deaths were eight. Six of those were citizens of other countries, five from Argentina, one from Germany. Two were Americans. Of the 12 remaining, thankfully, three have been released from the hospital. Nine remain in the hospital.

Four of those were critically injured, but are in stable condition. The others are seriously injured. The injuries ranged from a bilateral amputation to serious head, neck, back, and chest trauma, and trauma to arms and legs.

This was a heinous attack that resulted in eight deaths and serious injuries. Our prayers are with the families of those who died and those who remain in the hospital.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: Thank you, Commissioner Nigro. And thank you to all the men and women of the FDNY and all the first responders, all the EMTs, who went to the aid of those who were afflicted and did it so well.

I want to start by thanking all of my colleagues that are here. Thank you, Governor Cuomo and all of our state partners who are here, all of our federal partners. Thank you, Congressman Jerry Nadler for joining us. Everyone is here in common cause.

This was an attack on the United States of America and an attack on New York City and an attack on our people, and it was the definition of terrorism. An effort to take away people's hope and spirit and to make them change.

And what New Yorkers showed already is we will not change. We will not be cowed. We will not be thrown off by anything. And this cowardly act targeting the most innocent people in the middle of the most innocent pursuits, was meant to make people feel they could not go about their daily lives.

And what we saw last night, Governor Cuomo and I went to our Annual Halloween parade. A million New Yorkers showed up for that event. And as we spoke with them, they were undeterred. They were strong. It made me very proud of New York City, and all the people of this country, to see that strength in the face of adversity.

This morning, people went to work. Kids went to school. No one thought there was any choice, but to stand up to this act of terror. So, as we now move forward, we start with giving our prayers to the families of the eight who were killed.

They, as you heard, six of them came from other nations here because they saw New York as a special place to be and we now, and forever, will consider them New Yorkers. They shared this tragedy with us.

We will remember them as New Yorkers. They were here because this city is a beacon to people all over the world, a place that every kind of person comes to and is respected. And that won't change.

The 8.5 million people here, we understand this was an attack on our values. It was an effort to break our spirit, but as an effort to break our spirit, it failed. New York City is a very strong and resilient place. We have great faith in the men and women who protect us.

We have such parade in the NYPD and we see them on duty and we know they are the very best. So, we're strong, we're resilient people because we know we're protected and we know that this place works when people don't feel deterred. And I'll tell you, this violence was an effort to make us blink and we won't blink. We won't change.

[11:10:11] The NYPD yesterday showed us once again how much New Yorkers can rely on them and I want to commend Officer Ryan Nash. I spoke to him earlier today. A good, young man, five years on the force. He was very humble about what he did, but what he did was extraordinary and gave people such faith and such appreciation in our police force.

Now, this investigation, as you've heard, has just begun. It's important to emphasize again this morning, that we do not see any additional credible and specific threats against New York City. We will constantly keep people posted, but we do ask everyone to be vigilant.

Commissioner O'Neill laid out what everyone has to understand, be a part of the solution. Share what you know with the police. Don't think twice. Give information to our officers. And many of those previous efforts to undermine us the commissioner referenced, those almost two dozen previous efforts to attack New York City, a number of them were stopped because good people came forward with information in time. We need everyone to understand that they can do that, too. As we move forward, we will look forward to the marathon on Sunday. It will go on as scheduled. It will be an extraordinary event, as it always is. It will be well protected, as it always is, and we will take additional measures to ensure that.

But my message to all New Yorkers is, do what you do best, be New Yorkers. Be strong, be proud, be resilient, show the whole world right now that we will not be moved by terror. Again, you see everyone here, everyone agency united in common cause, and this is also part of what makes us strong.

And with that, I want to thank for his efforts and the state's efforts, and welcome Governor Cuomo.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: Thank you very much. Let me begin by asking us all to remember in our thoughts and prayers the eight lives that were lost, tragically. That is damaged that can never be undone, and there are families today feeling pain that is unimaginable.

Mayor De Blasio, to the NYPD, the FDNY, the state police, I was on the scene yesterday, the performance was phenomenal, and the coordination and the effort was top shelf. And it gives one reassurance to know that there is this level of professionalism and expertise protecting the people of this city and this state.

It's also, too, important to remember that while the leadership of the police departments is top shelf, Officer Nash, five years on the job, 28 years old, he was a hero. And the NYPD is not just the leadership, it's the men and women who are out there every day, who are on the first line.

And I think Officer Nash really showed how important they are and how talented and how brave so we all applaud and congratulate him. I spoke to the homeland security secretary yesterday, who pledges full coordination with all of the federal efforts and the FBI.

I think it's important that we are all working as one, and in this kind of situation, there is no alternative. This is not a time to have politics. This is not a time to point fingers. This is not a time to find blame. It's a time to come together and work for a common goal.

The effort yesterday killed eight people, but in my opinion, the effort failed because the effort was not to kill eight people. The effort was to disrupt us, to terrorize us, to scare us, to create mayhem. That's the effort. That's the goal on all of these attacks.

[11:15:09] New York is a special target because we have that Statue of Liberty in our harbor that we're proud of, holding up the torch for freedom and democracy, but we've seen it all around the world, and it is to create mayhem and terrorize, and it failed. The mayor is exactly right.

The Halloween Parade last night was a beautiful example of the failure of the attempt. A million New Yorkers came out, with their families, with their children. They celebrated. They were there. Just a number of hours after the incident and it was New York's way of saying, we will not be deterred. We are not terrorized. You will not win.

We said that in 1993, after the World Trade Center bombing, the first time. We said that after 9/11 and we said that yesterday. Unprompted. Spontaneously. They were all there and the mayor and I marched, and it was really reassuring to see the resilience of New Yorkers.

Now, you'll see increased police presence all across the metropolitan area. We are going to double the number of bodies at places of congregation, airports, tunnels, Penn Station, which has 600,000 people that go through it every day, the most heavily traveled transportation hub in the hemisphere.

I don't want anyone to draw any inference from that. We don't know anything. We're not responding to anything. It's just as a precaution. Same thing at the marathon. The marathon will go on because New York goes on and it's an important event for all of New Yorkers.

Again, I want to end where I started. The effort, by the first responders, was phenomenal. The reaction by New Yorkers, as evidenced last night, this morning, people got up, they went to work, children went to school. And that's what makes New Yorkers special.

That strength, that resilience, that ability to be undeterred in the face of ugliness and the actions of a depraved coward because that's what this was. This was the actions of a depraved coward. There is no grand statement to what was done. It was the act of a coward, and that's the way it should be regarded, because that's the way it was.

I was proud to be the governor of the state of New York last night. I'm proud every day, but seeing New Yorkers' response made me feel especially proud. And again, to the team you see assembled up here, the FBI, the NYPD, the FDNY, the seamless coordination really is something to behold and a source of strength and comfort, I hope, for all New Yorkers. Thank you.

O'NEILL: Thanks, governor. Thanks, Mr. Mayor. Just to reiterate what the governor and the mayor said. Now is not the time to live in fear. It's not the time to be fearful. Now is the time for all New Yorkers to be strong, as we always are.

Right now, Chief Carlos Gomez, our chief of department, he's going to talk about what we're doing to increase security throughout the city. Carlos?

CARLOS GOMEZ, CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, NEW YORK POLICE: All right. Good morning, everyone. Immediately following yesterday's attack in Lower Manhattan, the department quickly mobilized and deployed additional resources, additional police officers and additional heavy weapons teams to key locations throughout the city. Last night's Halloween parade, which attracted over a million participants was also security at that parade was also enhanced. We added more sand trucks, we added more blocker vehicles to the side streets that led on to Sixth Avenue.

And we also assigned more heavy weapons teams, not just to the parade, but to the surrounding area. New Yorkers and others who utilize our transit systems will see a lot more officers. You'll see more officers on the trains. You'll see more officers on the platforms.

They should expect more bag checks at more stations. They will be more k-9s, explosive-detecting k-9s in our subways systems and heavy weapons teams from our strategic response group as well as our critical response command will also be deployed to major hubs and other stations throughout the city.

[11:20:10] There are some traffic closures that remain in effect and I would like to point out that is the West Side Highway from 14th Street down to the tunnel. It still remains an active crime scene and we anticipate it will be closed until early this evening.

So, we've assigned traffic agents to the area, but motorists, please avoid that area. And we're just a few days away from the New York City marathon, which over 51,000 runners will participate. As the commissioner said, 2.5 million spectators will line the streets in all the boroughs in our city.

And we've enhanced security for this also. It's going to be a very safe event. We've added more sand trucks, more blocker vehicles. I can't give you the exact number. I do have it, I can't give it to you, but it will be the most ever deployed at this event.

We more than doubled our observation teams, our rooftop observation posts, as well as our counter-sniper teams from the emergency services unit throughout the boroughs, not just here in Manhattan. And we've also added more heavy weapons teams throughout the city.

Officers from our emergency services unit, from our strategic response group, and from our critical response command, they'll at fixed locations along the route, but they will also have a mobile response capability, if they are needed elsewhere.

And this increase will supplement the already large substantial detail of uniformed officers that you'll see along the route, but there will also be officers in civilian attire, in plain clothes that you won't see. They'll be mixing in with the crowds to detect any suspicious activity.

K-9s, a large number of K-9s will be deployed along the route, as will counterterrorism officers, with their resources and equipment. Our aviation, helicopters, will patrol from above. They'll survey rooftops, as well as the route and certainly, traffic control agents, they'll have the hard task of keeping traffic moving in the affected areas.

As the commissioner said, 8.5 million New Yorkers, several million other tourists, that's a lot of eyes and ears in our city. If you see something, say something, tell an officer, call 911 or certainly, you could call the New York City terrorism hotline, 888-nyc-safe and we la look for it to be a very safe and enjoyable Sunday. Thank you.

O'NEILL: Thanks, Carlos. Now we'll hear from Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the New York FBI office. Bill and his people continue to be great partners in New York City. Bill?

WILLIAM SWEENEY, NEW YORK FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE: Thank you, Jimmy. Good morning, everybody. Our thoughts and prayers from the bureau are with all the victims' families this morning and for all those that are still recovering. Right now, the New York JTTF, which is comprised of about 50 plus agencies, is following up on related leads, as we work to process and analyze intelligence information related to yesterday's attack.

Like last year, our partner, JTTF in Newark is also fully engaged. Both of those JTTFs, both here in New York and in Newark, are operating 24/7, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

We also have joint terrific task forces around the country that are following up on leads as we generate them and kick those out. The investigation is still in its early stages. I know I say this each time, but it is vitally important that we do not inadvertently disclose information that could adversely impact this investigation.

I think the public understands that need for the level of operational security, and for that reason, I may not be able to answer specific questions on how much or what we know. I can say we've been conducting searches throughout the night and into this morning.

I expect those searches will continue and additional searches will develop as we generate additional information. I expect evidence collection on the scene to continue until least early this afternoon, but more likely until early this evening.

We are very grateful for the patience and the resiliency of the workers and the people that reside in the Tribeca area. I'm asking the public to call us with any information that you may have. We set up a hotline. The two numbers are on the chart to your left. The first, nationwide, 1-800-call-fbi. Obviously, the NYPD number is up there as well.

But we have a second site which is vitally important. It is a link where the public can upload their videos and their photographs that they may have obtained when they were down at the scene. That link is That allows the public to upload those videos, so we can review them for additional evidence. Thank you for your cooperation. Thanks, Jimmy.

[11:25:11] O'NEILL: All right, thanks, Bill. Now John Miller is going to give us an updated chronology on what happened yesterday and he's also going to talk a little bit about the investigation. Again, what Bill said, I know you're going to have a lot of questions, but we have to let this investigation get more mature. It's not even 24 hours yet. There's going to be some things we can tell you and a lot of things we can't tell you. So, John?

JOHN MILLER, NEW YORK DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Thanks, Commissioner. Just to reiterate, we are in the early stages of this investigation. So, the information I'm going to give you today remains preliminary, meaning some details, timelines, et cetera, may change as we develop more granular information.

This investigation is being carried out jointly by the NYPD/FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Intelligence Bureau of the NYPD with the Counterterrorism Bureau and hundreds of detectives from the NYPD Detective Bureau, who responded to the scene and worked through the night, developing evidence and following leads.

The timeline, as we have it now, starts at 2:06 p.m., at which point the suspect rents a large vehicle from the Home Depot located in Passaic, New Jersey. According to license plate readers on the George Washington Bridge, he exits the bridge into New York City, southbound on the West Side Highway at 2:43 p.m.

At 3:04, a Port Authority camera on top of an air vent outside the Holland Tunnel shows the vehicle entering the bike lane and traveling at a high rate of speed, southbound, at West Street, and Houseton Street.

At this point, according to witnesses, video, and investigation, he appears to target bicycle riders and pedestrians within the southbound bike lane, traveling at a high rate of speed. That ends when he collides with the school bus, jurying a number of additional people.

And at 3:08 p.m., we get more than a dozen 911 calls, reporting people down, the school bus accident, and a man with a gun in the street. Two first precinct police officers who were out on another call are alerted by civilians about the activity going on outside.

They leave that location. They're joined by a third officer. They observe a man who appears to be waving a gun and yelling at the scene of the accident, and they observe people down on the scene.

One of those officers, Brian Nash, takes action and fires his service weapon, bringing the attack to an end. As the injured were being removed by fire department and EMS personnel and being triaged at the scene, a perimeter was set up around that truck and the NYPD bomb squad was called in to clear that vehicle for any suspicious devices.

The suspect is identified as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old legal permanent resident of the United States, who came into the country from Uzbekistan in March of 2010. Overnight, based on the investigation, there have been a number of search warrants executed and there may be more.

Witnesses interviewed, associates tracked down, and other activity. We've been able to piece together a number of facts. Recovered in and around the vehicle were multiple knives, the two imitation pistols, one a paintball gun, the other a Crossman pellet gun.

As you know, there are eight dead and 12 injured. We have a lot to go through. The Detective Bureau in particular, using hundreds of detectives, has been going up and down the west side highway on both sides of the street, meticulously, trying to pick up every piece of video from every security camera, every traffic camera, every bank camera, anything that will help us put together this timeline and have the imagery to go with it, so we can reconstruct as much of this as possible.

We'll also be reviewing license plate reader data, not just our own, but from the surrounding area, to help reconstruct the suspect's movement over the proceeding days, as well as interviews with associates.

The suspect was transported to Bellevue Hospital. We are awaiting to hear an update on his condition today. Obviously, he is in custody and under arrest. Based on the investigation overnight, it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks.

He did this in the name of ISIS and along with the other items recovered at the scene was some notes that further indicate that --