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New York City Truck Attack Leaves Eight People Dead; Police Officer Shot Suspect After Bike Path Rampage; Suspect Left Note In Truck Claiming He Carried Out Attack In The Name Of ISIS; New York Attacker Targets Popular Cycling Path; New York Attack Follows Trend of Vehicles Used as Weapons; Witnesses Described Chaos and Horror of New York Attack. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay, live in Los Angeles where it's just 10:00 on the U.S. West Coast.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Vause, now breaking news this hour. For the first time, a vehicle has been weaponized in a terror attack in the U.S. It unfolded Tuesday afternoon when a 29-year-old man drove a rental truck at high speed down a crowded bike in Lower Manhattan. At least eight people were killed, about a dozen others were wounded, the suspect then crashed into a school bus. As he ran from the vehicle, he was carrying imitation weapons; a pellet gun and a paintball gun. The police officer on the scene shot him in the abdomen.
SESAY: Well, law enforcement sources believed he acted alone. But in a note found in the pick-up truck, he claimed he'd carried out the attack in the name of ISIS. He's been identified as Sayfullo Saipov. Earlier, sources told us he was a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan who came to the U.S. in 2010. This is his mugshot from about a year ago when he was arrested in Missouri. Witnesses say he was yelling "Allahu Akbar" -- an Arabic phrase which roughly translates "God is great." And right now, he's in custody after undergoing surgery.
VAUSE: Just after the attack, President Trump tweeted this: "I've just order Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this."
SESAY: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a defiant tone, declaring the city would not change its way of life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We know that this action was intended to break our spirit, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And many in the city heard that call, they turned up for the
annual Halloween parade. And just a few hours ago, it went on as scheduled. But with us now, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and Retired FBI Special Agent, Steve Moore; also Retired FBI Special Agent Maureen O'Connor. Thank you for coming back. Good to see you, guys.
SESAY: Good to see you.
VAUSE: OK. Right now, Maureen, it seems to be -- the attacker, he acted alone, we're hearing that from law enforcement sources, and we've all seen it publicly from city and state officials. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We have no evidence whatsoever that this was anything other than a person acting individually. We have no evidence whatsoever that it's connected to anyone or anything or there are any other follow up measures. Now, it's only been a few hours, the investigation is ongoing but we have no evidence otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, how does that shape the investigation from a point on, keeping in mind that the suspect is in custody right now?
MAUREEN O'CONNOR, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, ideologically, he's got a connection with all those other global Jihadist. So, whether or not he acted alone, at this point, doesn't seem to mean much to me. There's so much investigation that needs to happen, and that's happening right now as we speak. And will happen throughout the night. We'll know a lot more in the morning.
SESAY: Steve, I mean, to that point, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd, said that in these situations, investigators, specialists such as yourselves, you start to read from the point of saying, this was a conspiracy and then working out to prove that it wasn't. You take that as your starting point. I mean, the length of time that it took, just a couple of hours, to come to this determination that he was acting alone, does it seem fast to you?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: No. I mean, within five minutes, if I -- of knowing the facts that seeing how he got out of the truck, what he was carrying when he got out of the truck? I would've come to the same preliminary conclusion. But at that point, he's right, you have to go back and ensure that your conclusion is right. You can't just take it on your own blink. And so, this -- yes, to me, this looked like an individual act by an untrained person who really wasn't all that savvy.
All he could do is drive a truck. Carry those weapons? You could hurt nobody with them, but they can get you shot faster. At least carry a knife if he was him. So, he's not good at what he does. And I think the thing that you have to understand though is even though he may have acted alone, he's got friends and he's communicating with people. And why wouldn't one of them go to avenge him? So, now, you've got to open up your --
SESAY: Just to pick up (INAUDIBLE) with me, as you talk about the imitation weapons. Maureen, to you, I mean, does it say that he wanted to get shot? I mean --
O'CONNOR: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) by a cop, to me. And I think the reason is he did not want to go to prison. He -- there was no way that this guy wanted to end up in prison. He had those guns, we all know very well that many of these toy guns look identical to real guns. So, he pulled those guns out. He was -- they were easy for him to grab. But I wanted to go back to this point on what you said earlier about these initial assumptions that we make. The hallmark of any good investigator or any good investigation is to follow nothing but the facts. That's what we do in the bureau, that's what we did our whole careers, and so that's what they're doing right now.
[01:05:22] VAUSE: And just on something you said as well. The investigation isn't necessarily looking for accomplice but maybe somebody who knew something and didn't say anything, right?
MOORE: Absolutely. And what each one of these acts does is it makes us better at finding the next one. We learned from what we missed, and we also -- it spreads out. You're going to -- we're going to get his computers, we're going to get his social media presence if anything, and we are going to get on to a lot of other people. And I think that's the value we find tragedy.
VAUSE: OK. Well, we know this happened on a bike path -- one of the busiest in the U.S. Happened -- turned on to that bike path 3:05 p.m. local time on Tuesday. Apparently, these all are very, very quickly when the rental truck collided with the school bus. New York's police commissioner has details of what happened after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES P. O'NEIL, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK: The truck collided with the school bus injuring two adults and two children. After the collision, the driver of the truck, the 29-year-old male, exited the vehicle brandishing two handguns. The uniformed police officer assigned to the first precinct confronted the subject and shot him in the abdomen. The subject was wounded and transported to a local hospital. A paintball gun and a pellet were recovered at the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Maureen, listen to the details that it seems there are a lot of things went right for this attack to come to an end. He crashed the car. There are a couple of cops nearby who shot him. It doesn't seem -- you know, it seems like, you know, if he didn't crash the car, he could have got away. If the cops weren't there, this could've ended very differently.
O'CONNOR: So, it's an inexperienced guy that wanted to be a tough guy and wanted to be a hero. And the bottom line is he was a coward and he was nervous, and he made a ton of mistakes.
VAUSE: But did the New York City got lucky though, as well?
O'CONNOR: New York City could've gotten very lucky. But they have such a fantastic police department, they have such a wonderful JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force), and they work remarkably well together. They have their heads on a swivel and they're always looking for any pre-incident indicator or any other sign that might -- that trouble might be afoot.
SESAY: And Steve, I want to ask about the note. The note that was found in the truck in which this man claims that he was doing this in the name of ISIS. But ISIS hasn't come out and claimed it. I mean, we've seen ISIS claim acts that we know they had nothing with like Vegas. So, why not -- what does that say to you?
MOORE: Well, it could be that ISIS is busy right now getting killed over in Raqqa. And so, they may be a little bit disorganized right now. That's the only thing I can think of because this is -- I mean, they claimed Las Vegas, and the guy was clearly not aligned with them. This guy leaves a note, which all of these radicals do because you have to show that you earned martyrdom. So, it may be the fact that they're disorganized now worldwide. But that's the only thing I can think of.
VAUSE: Well, he wasn't a martyr, he was arrested. And here's how one witness described the takedown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a man lying on the ground who appears to have been shot. And right next to him, there was another who was being arrested; he wasn't putting up a fight, he was on his knees and his hands his head. And right next to him was the white pick-up truck that had home depot logos on it, the front was entirely smashed in, and it has smoke coming out of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Maureen, if you compare what, you know, had taken place in Europe over the last couple years with these weaponized vehicle attacks. They always seem to end with the driver dying in some -- you know, a blaze of gunfire from the authorities. This guy seems to be very different, to say the least, to at least in the terms of how he carried this out. And you know, I guess his commitment to being martyr as Steve's point, what's does that say?
O'CONNOR: Well, it tells me that he was slightly disorganized and he did come across a police officer right when he least expected it. I think that the accident with the bus may very well have been an accident. And that had that not happened, it would've been a long chase, and it would've been something more along the line of what we've seen in the past.
SESAY: To Steve, is the concern now copycat? Is that the concern here because now this is -- have crossed the threshold by seeing one of these weaponized vehicle attacks here in the U.S.? MOORE: If anything that works is going to be continued, and when you see that this -- for almost no plan, no work, no having to get explosives, no having to get illegal guns, they were able to kill eight people. Yes, this is going to move the ball.
VAUSE: Success beget success.
[01:10:05] O'CONNOR: But the bottom line is in all these attacks, we find them happening in third world countries and the European countries before they come here. There always testing grounds, there are always surveillances done, there is always these signpost along the way where they're training and they're working toward this type of thing. But they always end up here -- their goal is going to then end up here.
MOORE: Truck attacks in London.
VAUSE: But which means that the authorities have had time to prepare for this. And that was actually addressed on Tuesday as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: We went -- did extend of outreach to the truck rental business. We visited over 148 truck rental locations in this area. The obvious ones (INAUDIBLE), Home Depot, et cetera, and talk 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)
VAUSE: And Maureen, that's all very good and all very positive; must've had it at so well this time. But eventually, you know, and ultimately, the terrorist can't hire a truck, would he steal one?
O'CONNOR: You could steal a truck, you could do just as much damage or more with a small car on a sidewalk.
VAUSE: So, it gets sent to the issue, you have John Miller there, he talks about you know, telling these rental companies to be aware of what's going on. But it just comes down to this question of how are these things prevented, and it's incredibly difficult?
O'CONNOR: It's incredibly difficult. And Mr. Miller was talking about outreach programs; the FBI as an outreach program called InfoGuard -- and we train and train and train people on pre-incident indicators, suspicious activity, where to report them. Most people understand see something, say something, but they often times don't know where to put that information. And we're looking for clusters of information, and these clusters can be put together by us. We don't expect that citizens to do it; we'll do the work for you, but get the information to your local law enforcement or your FBI.
VAUSE: Well, we'll leave it there.
SESAY: Yes, we're going to leave it there. VAUSE: Obviously, there is still a lot to know about this but eight people dead is a tragedy but could be a lot less, I guess.
MOORE: And we learn something from it.
VAUSE: OK. Steve Moore --
SESAY: And there's a lot more to come out. In fact, he is in custody. That's we'll learn a lot more.
O'CONNOR: He's not a happy camper.
VAUSE: Thank you.
O'CONNOR: Thank you.
SESAY: We appreciate it. Thank you. Well, New York City's Police Department is asking the public for help as it continues its investigation of the terror attack.
VAUSE: In a tweet, they are requesting eyewitnesses to send video or, you know, just related to the incident to FBI.gov/nyctribeca. Other witnesses can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI that is if you are within the United States -- but obviously, you wouldn't be unless you have. Images or video unless someone left the country in the last 24 hours.
OK. Next up here on NEWSROOM L.A., President Trump says it's time to step up America's extreme vetting program, and there's no time for political correctness in the wake of the New York City attack. We'll have our political panel to talk about all of that and a lot more in just a moment.
SESAY: Well, President Trump is strongly condemning the New York City terror attack.
[01:15:24] VAUSE: In a tweet, he said, "Looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. Not in the USA!" That tweet came shortly after the man drove a truck into a crowded bike lane in Manhattan, killing at least eight people. Well, joining us now for more on this, Political Commentator Mo'Kelly; we also have California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steele; and Political Analyst Peter Matthews.
There were a couple of tweets from the president from the last few hours in response to this. We heard from the president most recently tweeting out this: "I've just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine but not for this." So, Peter to you, that seems to be it. There is no confirmation from the White House, nothing from the Department of Homeland Security, no details of what is actually going to happen. So, on your point of view, what does that tweet actually mean? PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the way they define
extreme vetting is to make sure that the person that's coming here is actually who they are, which could mean delaying, allowing the entrance of a person or going extreme amounts of background checks. But we don't know have the details because the president doesn't come out and tell us. He tweets in a 140-tweet -- 140-word tweet, which is not much explanation at all, and that's not really good. We'll have to look at it later on and see what he means exactly and ask for specifics. That's a good point.
VAUSE: Specifics will be good. But, you know, I guess, you know, the line of the tweet about political correctness, it did seem to stand out a place a little bit until I checked to see what those saying over on Fox News. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This raises the obvious question: how did this guy get here? It turns out, he came under something called the diversity visa lottery that allows about 50,000 people to come into this country every year; they are given green cards, they have no connection to the United States and no skills -- specific skills.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given that program, how can we vet for people like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That he came under a program called the Diversity Visa Program. I started digging into this. You know what that is Sean? It's a lottery program. It's been in existence for some; 50,000 people a year come in here through the Diversity Visa Program. Because the Diversity Visa Program was set up, you see, to make sure that underrepresented countries can send their people into this country too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And it went on like for hours earlier, and hours after. But Mo, actually, I want to ask you this: is it possible that the motivation for the president's tweet could've been what he was seeing on Fox News because they were talking about it a lot before that tweet came out?
MO'KELLY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND TALK RADIO HOST: Well, we see that time and time again. Where something -- what happened on a particular Fox program when is more likely to be watching like very early in the morning or late in the evening, and then he will pair exactly what was said.
VAUSE: And as aimed at his supporters as opposed to --
KELLY: Oh, absolutely, why would the president talk about political correctness as opposed to what actual policy or legislation that he wants to push through. And on the heels of having his most recent travel ban, travels, it just says that he's trying to make political -- A. (INAUDIBLE) tweet as opposed to a policy change.
SESAY: Shawn, just to be clear, the president -- as Mo would put it, is playing politics as opposed to really looking to --
SHAWN STEELE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN, CALIFORNIA: I don't think so. I think that Trump's probably watching us right now. So, he monitors all the stations -- I wouldn't worry about that. Secondly, I think the discussion about the diversity lottery something and none of us do. I didn't know about it. Anybody at this studio ever heard of it?
SESAY: I did, yes.
STEELE: Oh, well, congratulations. Now, that explains a lot. I've got -- I didn't understand. The point is, there needs to be a rational system. There are some four million people throughout the world waiting to come to the United States. Frankly speaking, half of the world would come to the United States if they could. That's -- I don't think anybody doubts that. But there's four million that have to jump through the hopes, most of them are agents, they can't get through because we have such a blot and such confusion with our current policy -- that hopefully is going to streamlined. Hopefully, the Congress is going to do something. All Trump wants to do is prevent a terrorist from coming. I don't think anybody should object to that, but there are people actually object to that.
KELLY: No. We don't object to that. There is -- it's not what you do, it's how you do this and how you go about it is important. And it's not just about what someone looks like or what country from which they originate; it's their people who they radicalize --
STEELE: Well, the country is important, not what they'd look like, I agree with you. But --
KELLY: But people are radicalized after they've been here too.
SESAY: Yes, I mean --
STEELE: That's right. And we should then be paying attention to that. We should be getting help from people that are watching that are getting radicalized as well. There should be a much more of consensus in working together --
SESAY: But you can go around blanketing, and using, say, a language about communities and countries, and how are you going to get that (INAUDIBLE).
[01:20:03] STEELE: No, no. Here's the problem: we are already blanketing. Everybody has to take their shoes off -- you know when they go to the airport. Everybody had to be an equally determined person to be profiled, that's not a smart way to do it. Nobody, nobody takes a serious situation and try to examine every single cell in the body for cancer; you look at the specific cells that are really a problem, look at the profile indicators, you're making the tale of irrational choices. (INAUDIBLE), we can do the same thing.
VAUSE: Peter, what has happened over the last couple of years is that the intelligence community, or the law enforcement community in the U.S. has depended heavily on the Muslim community within the United States for intelligence and information on these home-grown plots, issues of home-grown radicals which is why a lot of people say that this situation in the U.S. with the radicalization is nowhere near as bad as place of Europe like France and Belgium where it is a huge problem because they haven't had the same approach. Because these communities have been ostracized.
MATTHEWS: That's true. Those communities are very isolated and the people in that community haven't had the opportunity -- the young people, especially -- to go ahead and take part. And fruits of the society, like in Britain for example, in the ghettos of France and parts of Paris, that's the problem. At least we have more integration here with people of different backgrounds.
I want to go back to what Shawn just said about. You know, looking at people in a certain profiling manner, I think he was implying that to see if that's the group we target the most because they have the group from which some of the members came. I think you can miss the real terrorist if you do that. You can certainly miss some of the White Supremacist terrorists who attacks us, and we don't know, we don't go after them more strictly because they look a lot of other people here.
So, you have to look at people not based on just ethnicity or appearance, you've got to use more sophisticated methods by having intelligence, by having people who can speak the language of the countries, and can tell us who the enemies are, possibly. But you can't give up our civil liberties entirely like we've been doing to a certain extent just to keep a certain sense of false security, especially by this targeted people with a broad-brush stroke. We've got to have more individual efforts. I do (INAUDIBLE) for not ghettoizing most of our people from this part of the world, we let them integrate more.
SESAY: And I think it's a good point. So, Pete, Shawn, just going back to because I saw when Peter said about, you know, White Supremacist, you kind of went -- what does that mean? That that isn't something that's worthy of?
STEELE: Nobody likes White Supremacist, but, you know --
KELLY: We're not so sure. We have a president who does.
STEELE: That's silly. That's not (INAUDIBLE). And Mo, as a decent human --
KELLY: We might have the White House chief of staff.
STEELE: As a decent human being. General Kelly? You're off the rails. You should be embarrassed.
KELLY: He just made the case for General Lee today.
STEELE: Well, you know what, General Lee is not my kind of a general. (INAUDIBLE).
SESAY: OK. STEELE: That's shameful and it's off the rails. And by the way, the vast majority of Americans disagree with you on this. Remember, this is an international situation, Mo, so you're speaking from a very small leftist point of view -- you don't need to that. But you had another question?
SESAY: I guess my question was, you know, as we talk about foreign terrorism versus domestic terrorism, to go back to Peter's point. You know, how we handle it and, you know, he did kind of bring in the fact that if you ghettoize a target, one with --
STEELE: Nobody's ghettoizing. The problem is, Peter has no methodology or whatsoever to identify a terrorist. Let's have both. Who is the terrorist that are the biggest -- are the biggest problem? That would be Jihadist. Well, probably not Christians coming from Central Africa, probably not Roman Catholic coming from Switzerland. So, you've got to be rational about this. They're probably not females; they're probably male.
KELLY: Was Las Vegas terrorism?
STEELE: That was just --
KELLY: Yes or no?
STEELE: You know what, and Chicago terrorism?
KELLY: I asked you: is Las Vegas an act of terrorism?
STEELE: Of course, it was. And any type violence is an act of terrorism, that hurts a lot of people.
VAUSE: Well, most probably we don't know that because we don't know the motivation, because --
STEELE: But you're making a moral equivalency here. And what you mean -- what does really means is that you don't even appreciate the nature of Jihadist international terrorism.
MATTHEWS: Well, Shawn. Shawn, excuse me. This is a question of practicality. If you focus on one group, you're going to miss the terrorist from another group, other ethnic groups. So, instead, you have to have broad -- you have to have a more individualized approach, you can have intelligence, but also can be (INAUDIBLE) of liberty.
STEELE: I don't think we're having a lot of White Supremacist coming to America as immigrants. We're talking about an immigration process, we're not talking about domestic terrorism.
MATTHEWS: Some of them are already here.
STEELE: We're talking about immigration --
STEELE: You don't want to have any barriers, you want to have any control, you don't want to have any vetting or whatsoever; not irrational.
MATTHEWS: But the Jihadist can choose -- hold on one minute. The Jihadist can choose a European looking person who's converting and has the same name as the European name. They can do that. They've done that before.
STEELE: And you know what, that only is a program, but that's not -- look at the people that have been doing the act of terrorism in the name of Islam, and none of them are White Europeans, I guarantee you that. You might have it in the future.
VAUSE: I think we're out of time.
VAUSE: But very quickly, before we go.
[01:25:04] VAUSE: There's been a lot of expressions of sympathy from world leaders. Among them, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, he tweeted this out: "London stands in grief and solidarity with the great city of New York tonight." He then added in a statement, "New York is strong and resilient. I know they will not be cowed by this assault on the innocent and on our shared values and way of life," which is quite the contrast on how the president reacted to a terror attack in London back in June.
SESAY: Yes, indeed. And as we wrap it up, and to your point, I think that's the point, Pete -- Shawn. It's about America holding on to its values.
SESAY: It's about America holding on to its values as it looks to secure itself and doesn't go around making --
STEELE: And it's the same with holding onto our lives too. We're not -- we're not playing suicide.
SESAY: Well, the is actually safe. I mean, considering in the grand scheme of things.
STEELE: Values and safety.
VAUSE: Shawn gets the last word. OK, great. Mo and Shawn, and Peter thank you for being with us. We very much appreciated.
SESAY: Always appreciate the spirited conversation. Thank you, gentlemen. Let's take a very quick break here, and more on our breaking news is just ahead. How the truck attack in New York unfolded and just how long it took for the attack that just took the lives of at least eight people.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Our breaking news this hour. The suspect in the deadly terror attack in New York City since 9/11 is the (INAUDIBLE), who've left a note claiming it was all done in the name of ISIS. The man plowed down a truck down a crowded bicycle path in Lower Manhattan, killing at least eight people; five of the victims are Argentinian, one was Belgian. The truck driver then crashed into a school bus near the World Trade Center.
VAUSE: Witnesses say the suspect yelled "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great". Authorities have identified him as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. He came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010. Investigators believe at this point, he was acting alone. New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is calling for unity and resilience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: New York is an international symbol of freedom and democracy. That's what we are. And we are proud of it. That also makes a target for those people who oppose those concepts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, this attack unfolded incredibly quickly, targeting an area of Manhattan popular for those who are out for a peaceful walk or spin on the bike. Tom Foreman has more.
[01:30:04] TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Six to eight thousand bicyclists today travel along the Hudson River on this trail. It's bills -- the busiest bike path in America and that's not counting all the pedestrians on it. Officials say this is where the attack unfolded from Houston Street down almost to Freedom Tower where the site of the former World Trade Center.
It started at 3:05 in the afternoon, that's when the police say the truck pulled off of the west side highway here and onto this bike path accelerating rapidly, zooming along. The path is paved and easily wide enough to accommodate a vehicle. So there'll be very little to slow him down.
And considering how many people you typically see out here on a nice afternoon, it's rather remarkable more were not injured and how far he made it. In any event, down in this area, it's not clear if he was trying to pull off of this road or get back into traffic or escape into the city, but somehow there was a big collision right here with a bus.
And when that happened his vehicle was disabled. He got out, he had this pellet gun, he had this paint gun according to the police. He was waving them around, moving through the streets. And then a very short distance away, that's where he was shot by the police. How long did all of this take beginning to end, the math says it could not have been very long. This rental truck that he had from over in New Jersey had a big V8 engine in it. Again, there were no big concrete barriers or anything at any point to slow him down.
So the distance slightly under a mile, even at 60 miles an hour, that attack would've lasted less than a minute.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, thank you, Tom Foreman, for that. Well, joining us now Middle East Expert Lisa Daftari, the editor-in-chief of "The Foreign Desk". And former FBI Special Agent, Erroll Southers, the director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies at the University of Southern California.
And joining us from Palm Springs former FBI Special Agent, Bobby Chacon. Welcome to all of you. Bobby, to start with you first. This suspect originally hailed from Uzbekistan, came to the U.S. some seven years ago. All eyes now on the Uzbeki community there -- of course, there in the country and obviously the community as it's existing in the U.S.
They're known to be incredibly insular as said by Ron (INAUDIBLE) how do investigations approach, you know, this community? How do you approach such opposition when you know that the people you need help from are remarkably insular and in some cases hostile to the west?
BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, there's a number of ways to do it. Community outreach, there's both overt and covert ways to infiltrate a community like that. I would think that the FBI's New York Office and the JTTF there has already made some (INAUDIBLE) because this is not the first time we've had an Uzbeki actor in New York.
There was one back in 2015 where several Uzbekis were arrested in Brooklyn. So I think that they may have already started that, and that's part of the job of the JTTF is to keep those contacts within those communities when something like this happens, they can turn back to. Very difficult but certainly not impossible.
VAUSE: And so, Bobby, why, you know, the -- but why are these people so close off? Why is the Uzbek community so isolated and so difficult to crack?
CHACON: Well, I mean, originally, you know, they are kind of a remote region of the former Soviet Union and I think they broke away, they got their freedom in 1991. And then they've been living under a pretty severe dictatorship there. So, you know, these are people that are used to having very dominant governments over there.
And so they're very, you know, that breeds an insulation where the community doesn't want to be too open because they've been cracked down, you know, by the former Soviet Union or by their new so-called freedom which is now a dictator. So I think that that -- their political history and the dominance of the leaders of the political history, I think, kind of further their insulation. SESAY: Yes. I also bring you in here, Bobby just mentioned that this isn't the first instance where we've heard of Uzbek males being involved in an act of terror. So I guess my question to you is, is the path through radicalization for Uzbek men the same as it is for other migrant communities here in the U.S. or is there something unique that play here?
ERROLL SOUTHERS, DIRECTOR OF HOMEGROWN VIOLENT EXTREMISM STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: It could be something that's unique but I doubt it. It would seem that the path is probably very similar to community that somewhat insular. We see that, we've seen it here, we've seen it in other communities around the world.
But as Bobby also had mentioned, the relationship is going to be required for an investigation to take place. It doesn't happen today. It needs to be in place already.
And the challenge that I have with that is our policies lately are suggesting that we marginalize these communities that we do need to work with. We've had a program here in the United States called CVE, Countering Violent Extremism. And that program has been under fire for some number of years in the past administration.
[01:35:02] Now it's in the current administration. And what is it -- what it does is it isolates individual communities in this country based on religion, based on national origin. You can't ask those people to help you later when you've called to -- particularly labeled them as suspects consistently until something happens.
VAUSE: And always -- it's often being you remark that the problem of radicalization in the U.S. is nothing compared to the problem of radicalization in Europe. Are you saying it's because the programs like that one? Was it -- is it more to do with U.S. society (INAUDIBLE) European society? And if that program goes away, are you looking to move towards the European situation?
SOUTHERS: I think it's much more to do with our ability to assimilate here. I've spent a lot of time in Europe particularly in France and I've seen those communities with a very, very different situation. I've seen fourth and fifth generation French individuals be challenged on their national heritage when they've been born in France, we don't have that here.
You know, if you come to America, you -- everybody has the American dream, it doesn't matter where you're from. And in those countries, they don't live that same kind of opportunity and that same kind of hope. So we're very fortunate here that we have it this way and we don't want to have to revert it to a system that puts us in the situation they have in France.
SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) the President tweeted this, he said, "We must not allow ISIS to return or enter our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough." That was just part of the number of tweets he put out in the aftermath of this attack. You know, it -- immediately bringing ISIS, immediately talking about defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere and the enough, the flourish there at the end, isn't he missing the point? Isn't he missing the point about complexities here at play in terms of radicalization and terror that can be homegrown, it's not just a notion of people coming from the outside?
LISA DAFTARI, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT: Sure, but at the same time we're coming off of the victory of Raqqa, and that was the big success and that was, so far in terms of foreign policy probably the biggest jewel in his crown.
SESAY: But they're not defeated.
DAFTARI: And sure -- right.
SESAY: They're just not in Raqqa.
DAFTARI: Right, but meaning, let's follow that momentum. Say, if we are going after ISIS on the ground we're also going against ISIS and fighting them when they're entering this country by influence. I mean, obviously, are entering the country by influence.
This guy was here for seven years, I don't think on a daily basis this guy was thinking about, you know, the caliphate back in Syria and Iraq, he wasn't. He's thinking about getting on, probably, YouTube or getting on, you know, meeting a friend at Starbucks or whatever coffee shop and talking about these things and that's what leads to. And I think what any president or any leader at this point can do is to unite the country.
Not to put people on a marginalized lift but to say, Muslims, Jews, Christians, or atheist died on 9/11 and anyone is at risk today meaning, are -- Muslims are at risk or Jews, everybody's at risk and we want to keep all Americans who are on this soil safe. And I think that's the message, maybe perhaps, that's missing, that this is more of an inclusive thing.
And if we're going to be proactive about fighting terrorism it's not a part of an issue. Immigration is about national security, national security is not a part of an issue. So, when can Americans come together and not make this a political issue today and make it one that we can go forward and make the country safer?
VAUSE: And just to follow up on tweet, that message of, you know, we won the war with ISIS, that was actually one of the expressed concerns that came out of the Pentagon and the intelligence services that, you know, if he was, "Oh, Raqqa has fallen --
VAUSE: -- we've won, yay, the war is over."
DAFTARI: We -- we've talked about the final result.
(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: Yes, exactly. And then they all (INAUDIBLE) things to set in.
VAUSE: I guess, you know, they just never expected it to come from the President.
DAFTARI: Right, but at the same time I think there has to be -- there is a plan in place and that plan is not going to pick -- place overnight in order to take out ISIS. ISIS is like putting, you know, feather pillows of -- into the wind and then trying to catch all those feathers. You're not going to be able to do that. You're not going to be able to do it so expressly.
So I think that in -- to keep the momentum, to keep this fight against ISIS or any other radical individual or group that wants to launch an attack on U.S. soil we're going to fight them. And I think that that's the comprehensive message today.
SOUTHERS: The only thing I would say to that, and I agree, is that we'd have to understand, as you've mentioned, we have a homegrown problem here. We've had 750,000 refugees settling in United States since 9/11. Three people had been arrested for a plot, not an attack, a plot.
So it seem that betting works. When you say extreme betting, two communities that are here, two people that have been here, the average person who comes here -- and I worked with communities in Minnesota, the average person that's coming in, say for example, from Somalia, spends eight years in a refugee camp in Kenya. The betting system works. We don't need super betting.
So when you make statements like that and now you speculate on how we're doing so well, to me, it not only marginalize this community, it politicizes an issue. We have a homegrown issue here, and if we look at numbers in statistics of attacks that have happened in the last 1- years, whether they'd be "Jihad's attacks" or white supremacy attacks, these people are Americans and in large numbers they're born here, these are not refugees and not immigrants.
[01:40:05] SESAY: Why are there resistance to recognize what they had clearly bears out?
SOUTHERS: Well, it's clearly political. We live in a country of altruism. We want to believe we have a faraway threat, we have another religion, another race, another nationality, another ethnic words, and it's comfortable for America. We are very, very hesitant to actually embrace the fact that Americans kill other Americans more often than anybody else.
SESAY: Sure, but does it --
VAUSE: I'm so sorry, I just want to ask Bobby this question because Bobby is a former FBI and, you know, what's the bigger threat, homegrown radicalized Jihadist terrorist or white guys born here, aged, you know, young white man with a gun who got some kind of issue, or both?
CHACON: Well, I mean, by sheer numbers, if you look at the numbers, it's the second -- it's the ladder of your description, right? But we've all been whipped up into a fervor about radical in this organization. And so I think the terrorist label brings a certain amount of emotional cache to an argument.
And so I think that it's hard when we're not addressing everything in equal measure according to the proportion of danger to us. So I think, you know, I think that the ladder group is probably more of a danger, you know, they're average American citizen, but, you know, neither can be ignored. And I think that -- I think they're -- I think the doctor's right, I think they're -- there's ways to reach out to those communities, you know, without making them feel threatened all the time.
SESAY: And Lisa, I know you wanted to weigh in, I mean, in terms of bringing in --
DAFTARI: Yes. No, I -- very similarly to what Bobby said, the sentiment that can't ignore one or the other doesn't mean that we shouldn't be in our -- in our cities, that we shouldn't -- we should ignore mental health. But what happened today can happen again, so I don't know -- this conversation today about, well, you know, Jihadism isn't a problem and obviously it is, because today it happened.
And today it happened and usual -- this is a soft target and soft target exist. And we live in this city where it can happen. And I think all over the world, people tonight are wondering, well, if my children are out walking, whether they're in the mall, or at a baseball game, or out trick or treating, are they safe?
And I don't think -- I think we always to -- our children and the safety of all American to answer that question, and really if it is Jihadism or gun violence, we --
SESAY: I just know it's a treat.
DAFTARI: All of them.
VAUSE: And all, you know, Lisa is right, it -- it's happened, they can happen again, but this is the first time this has happened. This is the first time a vehicle was weaponized in the U.S. and ended with eight people killed. That has been the big fear around the intelligence service, is when will that tactic that's been used in Europe come to the U.S. Now that it's here, now that it's been proved that it can be done, does this just open the floodgates?
SOUTHERS: Well, we certainly have to pay attention to it and in fact, we had an attack last year involving (INAUDIBLE) American in -- at Ohio State where he got out of the car as we've seen in the Middle East after he ran people over and started stabbing people. However, I don't ignore the attack we had in Charlottesville.
So to me, an attack with a vehicle on an innocent civilian is an attack of the vehicle, I don't care what race you are, religion you are, or what extremist ideology you embrace, to me, it's a terrorist attack and I think we should treat them equally.
DAFTARI: Yes. They're also calling for knife attack. So, will we -- are we going to wait for the next knife attack and sit around and talk about how we really don't have to worry about knife attack because there's more gun attacks than knife attack? No.
If we're proactive about what we're seeing and what we're seeing online, with the ISIS chatter, that they're calling for these low- level types of attack on local places on average American to make symbolic attacks. Today is Halloween, this is across from the World Trade Center, it can happen anywhere on any holiday and we shouldn't wait for that opportunity.
SESAY: And Erroll, I mean, final with you, it seem that in the face of -- a message from the life of ISIS which is to divide, to counter that we have to unite, we have to bring all parties together to feel part of the solution, and to your point, not marginalize or demonize.
SOUTHERS: Absolutely. You can count on tomorrow all the online radicalized magazines will be carrying the photographs of what a champion this individual was. They still talk about Anwar Al-Awlaki as if he's alive today and every issue of inspire and every issue of debate, they will exploit this, that's what they do. They are marketing experts.
VAUSE: Certainly (INAUDIBLE) Bobby looks like.
VAUSE: Well, I do want to ask you very quickly, Bobby. How important it is -- it basically comes from within the U.S. Muslim community condemning attacks and solving the attacks that had been carried out?
CHACON: Well, it's essentially I think, and in looking an individual like this, I think that they are searching for an elder in his community that may have helped him down the road of radicalization. He's been here seven years. My -- I saw one quote from somebody who knew him, he said he loved this country, he was happy here.
So somewhere along the line something went awry. And I don't think it's only from sitting in front of his TV and watching YouTube videos. I think there is a face-to-face person or persons that radicalized him, helped me radicalize and kind of led him down this path, I don't think I have any doubt about that.
[01:45:09] VAUSE: OK.
CHACON: And those are the people that have to be found because they could be encouraging additional people like him to carry out additional attacks.
VAUSE: Good point to finish on with.
VAUSE: Bobby, Erroll, and Lisa, thank you so much.
DAFTARI: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you very much, appreciate it.
VAUSE: We'll have some break. When we come back on NEWSROOM LA, Tuesday's attack is another instance of a vehicle being weaponized, but they looked at what's behind this tactic which is being used increasingly around the world.
VAUSE: Well, right now Manhattan, the lights at One World Trade Center, red, white, and blue.
SESAY: A tribute to the eight people who were killed on a bicycle park near the building in the side of the 9/11 terror attack.
VAUSE: U.S. governor called to the senate (INAUDIBLE) live out in our freedom and democracy.
SESAY: Well, the city has (INAUDIBLE) may have billed the bloodiest call to care about life as usual, going ahead with annual Halloween parade and celebrations.
VAUSE: CNN Jason Carroll has more on the boot right now in New York.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, really a striking contrast to what we saw downtown at the crime scene versus what we're seeing here along 6th Avenue where folks have come out to celebrate the Halloween parade. As you can see the -- a number of police are out here as promised. The governor and the mayor telling folks to come out, that there would be a heavy police presence.
We have seen some of that. And they did talk about additional security measures including more heavily armed officers, especially key points along the parade route. A more blocker vehicles, those are vehicles that are set up to block some of the streets leading into the parade route and sand trucks as well to block the route. But again, what we've seen out here in addition to that are a number of folks coming out here, like you see behind me, just to celebrate and have a good time.
Some of them are saying that they actually felt safer here along the parade route in New York City where they knew there would be a heavy police presence. And some of them also echoing what we heard from the mayor saying that they wanted to come out and not let the terrorists win. Jason Carroll, CNN New York.
SESAY: Well, the New York City truck attack is the latest in the series of terror attacks in which vehicles were used as deadly weapon.
VAUSE: We have details now from CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has become one of the most disturbing tactics from terrorist in recent years because the weapons, rental trucks, other vehicles are so easy to procure and can strike with no warning. Four law enforcement sources told CNN witnesses reported the suspect in the New York attack was yelling "Allahu Akbar." This now appears to be at least the fourth major high profile terror attack just this year using vehicles and inflicting multiple casualties.
[01:49:58] On August 17th a van plowed to a crowd of people in a popular tourist district in Barcelona, Spain. Thirteen people were killed about 100 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility. Two days later in a coastal city about 60 miles from Barcelona, attackers drove an Audi sedan into several pedestrians, killing one person.
In June seven people were killed in two terror attacks in Central London, it began when a van swerved in the front of pedestrians on London Bridge. The suspects then jumped out of the van and went on foot into a nearby market indiscriminately slashing people with knives. Police shot and killed three suspects in that attack.
At least 48 people were injured then. In March of this year, a man drove an SUV into a crowd on the sidewalk along Westminster Bridge in London. He killed at least four people at that spot. He then ram the car into a barrier outside the Parliament building, exited the building and stabbed a police officer to death.
The attacker who officials later said may have had connections to violent extremism was gunned down by a police officer. Last year two horrific attacks using the same general method. On December 19th a Tunisian man drove a tractor trailer into a Christmas market in Berlin.
He killed 12 people, got out, and fled the scene. He was killed by police in Italy four days later. Hours after he died ISIS released of him pledging allegiance to the terror group. And on Bastille Day in Nice, France, July 14th of last year, an attack which brought the most carnage that we had seen in a long time for these types of attacks.
A man drove a 20-ton rental truck rental truck into a crowd celebrating the holiday. At least 84 people were killed. The attacker was shot and killed by police but not before he had driven about a mile through that crowd. Investigator said the attacker was a Tunisian national who became radicalized very quickly by ISIS propaganda before the attack.
And we can say also know much of this traces back to a call from a top ISIS figure a few years ago. In September 2014 ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, now deceased, called from lone wolf attacks using improvised weaponry. The quote from Adnani at that time, "If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies, smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."
This kind of tactic being used more and more frequently in recent years by what appear to be lone wolf terrorists. Brian Todd, CNN Washington.
SESAY: We have more in our breaking news, just head here on CNN including city in shock but one standing together. We hear firsthand from people who witnessed the New York attack (INAUDIBLE)
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. While the official investigation in New York is (INAUDIBLE) getting started we (INAUDIBLE) together what happened to those who saw it firsthand.
SESAY: The people are describing things of chaos and horror unfolding so fast it was hard to even work out what was going on. Here are few of their accounts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the car coming down or the truck coming down the buke path really, really fast and it was mauling things down. I didn't even realize at the time what it really was. There were bike riders dead.
[01:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You actually saw it hitting bike riders?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it hitting, yes, but at -- my brain didn't conclude it was actually people it was hitting because I heard this horrible noise bang, bang, bang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going really fast and the way two gentlemen were, you know, you could tell he was going fast and didn't know what hit them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver, he didn't look like he was bleeding or anything per se, but he did have a noticeable one. As he was getting out of his car he did look like he was dragging his foot a little bit and he was screaming on -- and he was screaming in the street. He looked frustrated and confused.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard (INAUDIBLE) gunshots and I was -- I didn't see what happened because I was scared so I was just lying down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the window, sitting on a wood deck right across from two body bags (INAUDIBLE) helmet and I saw all the police, firefighters, SWAT teams, bomb teams all arriving, I'm --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw them trying to help him and then when I looked over to the other side of the bicycle lane I saw two people laying down the floor covered with sheets and their bicycles next to them and -- what it appeared to be like their bicycles were ran over because you can see that they were right -- you can see somebody hit the bicycle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vehicle itself -- and I know you took the video, it was obviously smashed in the front. Did you ever see the person get out of the vehicle or the person who has been driving?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. By the time I got there it was pretty much, I guess, what I would say the aftermath because the shots were already (INAUDIBLE) everything was gone by the time I got there. The police responded. And it probably -- it took me maybe two or three minutes to walk over there, the police were already on scene.
SESAY: Some of the witness' account for what was a terrifying --
VAUSE: To me, it has similarities, these eyewitness accounts sound from Barcelona to Nice to Houston, New York.
SESAY: And these people trying to live a normal life could, you know, go out (INAUDIBLE)
VAUSE: And I believe -- yes.
SESAY: Yes. And now we're learning more about the victims of this attack. Five of them are from Argentina and were in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their school graduation. Belgium Foreign Affairs Administer says a Belgium national was also killed.
VAUSE: The mayors of other cities that have recently (INAUDIBLE) by terror have also issued messages of support. Barcelona's mayor said, "On behalf of the City of Barcelona we send our solidarity and support for the -- for New York, our sister city. We must stand together."
SESAY: And we're keeping everyone there in New York City in our thoughts and prayers. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us, a lot more news after a very short break.
[02:00:14] VAUSE: Hello, everybody, thank --