The NYPD officer who shot the man suspected of using a rental truck to mow down pedestrians in Manhattan, killing at least eight people and injuring nearly a dozen others, is being hailed a hero by New York lawmakers and leaders.
Ryan Nash, a five-year veteran with the First Precinct, sprung into action and shot 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov in the abdomen, stopping the deadly route of terror, according to NYC Councilman Joe Borelli, who first identified the officer. Nash gave a brief statement on the attack Wednesday afternoon in Suffolk County.
"I appreciate the public recognition of the actions of myself and my fellow officers yesterday," Nash said. "Although I feel that we were just doing our jobs, like thousands of officers do every day, I understand the importance of yesterday’s events and the role we played, and I am grateful for the recognition we have received."
Nash and his partner were at Stuyvesant High School for an unrelated call when they were notified of a vehicle accident nearby, according to New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neil. When the two officers responded to the scene, they were "confronted and took proper action," O'Neil said Wednesday.
Borelli named Nash in several tweets, saying he's "the hero cop the world should be talking about," and adding, "Police officer Ryan Nash risked his life to save others."
Mayor Bill de Blasio commended Nash for his "extraordinary" act of valor, and said the officer's actions "stopped the threat immediately" and saved dozens more lives. De Blasio, speaking to reporters at a news conference Wednesday, noted how impressed he was by Nash's humility.
"Ryan is a hero. But he was so humble about his achievement, it was very striking," de Blasio said. "He thought this was all in a days work and what a cop does to protect other people. He deserves the accolades of people of this city as do his partners.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also praised Nash's actions, noting that while the leadership of the NYPD is "top shelf," it is officers like Nash who are on the frontline every day that show "how important they are, how talented and how brave” the men and women of the city's police force are.
Meanwhile, investigators worked through the night to determine what led the suspect to use a truck to plow down people on a riverfront bike path near the World Trade Center, brandishing a pellet gun and a paint gun and yelling "Allahu Akbar" as his deadly attack ended with a crash, authorities say.
They were able to question him in the hospital, where he remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday. Investigators said he's "proud" of what he did and shows no remorse.
A note was found inside the truck that translated to read "ISIS lives forever," a senior official briefed on the investigation told NBC 4 New York. A source said a knife was also recovered from inside the truck.
Five Argentinians and a Belgian were among those killed in the attack. A sixth Argentinian, Martín Ludovico Marro, is at New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital with injuries. He is from Newtown, Massachusetts.
Three other Belgians were also inured. Germany's Foreign Ministry said a German citizen is also among the injured.