Family of Biker Killed in ISIS Incident Intends to Sue
Last month, 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov of Paterson, New Jersey, drove a white Home Depot rental truck recklessly down a New York City path made for pedestrians and cyclists, killing eight people and injuring at least twelve others. He was apprehended by police after driving fourteen blocks, colliding with a small yellow school bus, and jumping out of the vehicle with guns in each hand, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” The weapons used in the incident turned out to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun, rather than actual firearms.
Police shot at Saipov when he exited, appearing to be armed, which set off a panic to residents, as mangled bicyclists and bodies lined the path. Once Saipov was in custody, authorities returned to the scene of the incident to cover the bodies with sheets. Six people were declared dead at the scene and two were pronounced dead after being transported to a nearby hospital.
“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” said Chen Yi, an Uber driver.
“I look down and I see a white pickup truck a couple of more blocks down in the bike path,” Eugene Duffy, who had just left work and was at the scene, said. “Automatically, I know something’s wrong. Then, as I go down more toward where the girl is screaming, I see two gentlemen laying there and they have tire tracks marked across their bodies. You could tell they both weren’t here.”
Saipov was ultimately charged with providing material support to the Islamic State group, along with eight counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. His driver’s license shows an address in Tampa, Florida in addition to the one he stayed at in New Jersey. He is originally from Uzbekistan in Central Asia but had been living in the U.S. since 2010. Officials indicated they discovered a note left by Saipov in investigating the incident saying he had performed the attack on behalf of ISIS.
“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed there is no ongoing threat in New York City, but told residents to expect heightened security measures.
32-year-old Darren Drake was one of Saipov’s victims who lost his life in what the mayor also called “a particularly cowardly act of terror.” His parents are now intent on filing a lawsuit against the city, along with other defendants, alleging the vehicle should have never been allowed on the pedestrian thorough-way in the first place.
Drake had been out for a bike ride between meetings that afternoon. He worked as a project manager for Moody’s Investors Service at the World Trade Center. Drake was highly accomplished, and his father, James, describe him as the perfect son, stating he drove Darren every day to the train terminal in suburban Hoboken.
Drake had received a bachelor’s degree in political science at Rutgers University and a master’s degree in business administration four years later from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was pursuing a second master’s degree at Stevens Institute of Technology at the time of his death. The notice of claim, the first step before a lawsuit can be filed, was submitted on Tuesday. It is unclear whether families of the other victims also plan to pursue legal action.