The suspect accused of plowing a rented pickup truck through a crowd, killing at least eight people and injuring nearly a dozen in lower Manhattan had a printout of an ISIS flag in his car and left handwritten notes pledging his loyalty to ISIS.
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But, Rep. Peter King, (R-NY), told FOX Business there may not be a direct link between the two.
“I’ve been talking to people involved in the investigation and it does not appear that there is any terrorist fingerprints with him,” King told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.”
The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, is accused of driving a rented pickup truck through a crowded bike path for several blocks before crashing into a school bus. After exiting the vehicle, Saipov reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar," Arabic for “God is great,” while waving what is presumed to be a paintball gun and pellet gun, according to law enforcement.
Rep. King said the investigation could go on for “quite a while.”
“They are going to be going through everything in social media, anything they can find out about him at all, phone records and then they’ll be talking to people who they find in those phone records. This can go on for weeks and months before you get a full picture of him,” he said.
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The Omar Mosque in Paterson, N.J. where Saipov reportedly attended has been observed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) as possible location for “budding terrorist conspiracies,” according to NorthJersey.com.
“That Mosque in Patterson, N.J. has been a serious concern I know for the NYPD for years,” Rep. King said. “But as far as any particular motive obviously he was [an] Islamist terrorist, obviously he was committed to ISIS. Whether or not he acted on his own or not—it’s not unusual for him to be acting on his own because ISIS has really mastered the art of the internet.”
Following the attack, President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter saying: "In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A."
In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
Trump later tweeted his support for a merit based immigration system on Wednesday morning, after tweeting Tuesday night that he ordered the Department of Homeland Security to "step up" the nation’s "extreme vetting program."
I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
While King speculates Saipov came to the United States as a radical or was radicalized through social media, in his opinion, diversity visas should be separate from the idea of vetting.
“As far as the diversity visas, that’s also known as the lottery system, and to be honest with you I’ve known a number of people in New York who come in under the lottery system who have made outstanding contributions as soon as they become citizens,” he said, adding that he “believes strongly” in President Trump’s idea of having an enhanced vetting system.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo, said “no doubt [Saipov] was ISIS affiliated,” but “all evidence leads to that lone wolf model.”
The suspect was shot twice by police and taken into custody. He remains hospitalized and is expected to survive.