NEW YORK – The US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York announced on Tuesday that a grand jury decided to charge the New York terror attack suspect with 22 counts after he committed a truck attack on a bike path that left eight people dead and 12 others injured on Oct. 31.
The grand jury charged the attack suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, with eight counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder, one count of providing or attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group Islamic State and another count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle, the prosecution said in a statement.
The 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, who currently remains in prison, was shot and arrested by police after committing multiple hit-and-run attacks in lower Manhattan.
He was initially charged with two counts: one of providing resources and material support to the IS, and the other of violence and destruction of a vehicle, but these charges have now been extended to 22.
During the trial process, evidence is sent to a grand jury, which has the authority to drop or extend charges against a felony suspect, which occurred in this case.
Saipov, resident of the neighboring state of New Jersey, arrived in the US in March 2010.
On Oct. 31, Saipov, who allegedly began planning the attack a year ago, plowed a rental truck into pedestrians and bicyclists on a bike lane in Manhattan to “kill as many people as he could.”
He committed the crime possibly inspired by IS videos on his mobile phone, according to the authorities.
He allegedly chose Oct. 31 as the date of the attack believing that it would cause more deaths as there was a traditional Halloween parade in the city.
According to the authorities, the Uzbek immigrant left the truck yelling “Allah is great” in Arabic and supposedly wanted to carry the IS flag, but gave up because he did not want to attract too much attention to himself.
One of the mobile phones seized from Saipov contained videos distributed by the IS, as well as about 3,800 images, many of which appeared to be propaganda for this terrorist group.
According to the statement, Saipov could face a minimum of 10 years in prison for attempted murder, and a maximum of life imprisonment or capital punishment for murder and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.
“Like so many terrorists before him, Saipov will face justice in an American court,” said Joon H. Kim, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, adding that “we expect justice in this case will be swift, firm and resolute.”