tv Deadline White House MSNBC October 31, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
but people who have been to new york city before, this is a bike path that stretches the entire west side of manhattan. it's very popular, 3:59 on the east coast, pretty popular time for people to be out and about running and biking on this path. so potentially there were a decent amount of people who would have been using it. >> we're getting information coming in as we speak. i'm going to hand it over to my friend nicole wallace who will pick up this breaking news now. hi, everyone, we're following breaking news in downtown manhattan, new york city, multiple people are dead, and several are injured, according to a senior new york city official. savannah guthrie, host of the
"today" show is nearby, savannah, what are you seeing and what are you learning? >> reporter: i'm standing on the corner of greenwich saand chambers. it's near the west side highway. and there's a bike path. i'm with probably 100 people or more just sitting on the corner, not being permitted to go through. there's a lot of police sirens. i just saw one of those big nypd hostage negotiation vans go through, i'm not suggested that it's a hostage situation, but it's the kind of emergency vehicle you might see in a situation like this. but there's plenty of police activity. this is a very residential area of tribecca. i was just about to pick up my daughter from school and take my kids trick or treating. this is an area that would have been filled with kids leaving school. my pastor's son goes to school
right here at p.s. 289. i heard from his mom that he heard gunshots and ran all the way home. that's all i know at this point. but this seems like an active scene. >> new york city is known for its rapid response, can you describe if you have the sense that people are still rushing to the scene, or if they have already -- >> reporter: you're cutting out a little bit, but it is absolutely -- it seems to be an all hands on deck situation with regards to the first responders, i see ambulances over there, i see police vans, i'm about a block away so my vantage point isn't great. this is more and more people and a lot of us are schools and preschools, my daughter's school, they're all on lockdown and not allowed to leave. they put the kids in the basement because no one knew what exactly was going on.
i'm seeing police chase and that kind of thing. obviously more questions than answers at this point. a moment ago i smelled someone that smelled a little bit like burned rubber. now it seems to be have dissipated. it's just confusing here and everyone is wondering what's happening over there. there's a bike path, there's a school right there. it's not far from the river, it's not far from the world trade center. but as new york city blocks go, it's not close, it's not right there. so anyway, nicole. that's the best i can tell you right now. >> savannah, stay with us, we're going to add louis bergdorff, could you describe what you're seeing? >> reporter: yeah, i was standing just outside of my building, it's where canal street really meets the west
side highway. moments after this truck plowed down the bike path, you could see cyclists and pedestrians badly injured. emergency responders were very quick on to the scene and they were there trying to work on people, there was one woman giving a cyclist cpr just on the ground there, and it looked like it had started blocks north of where i was. even as far north as i think west howston street, and seemed to stretch very far south as well. so it seemed like this went on for an extremely long time, and in the beginning, first responders were literally combing through the brush that's just along the bike path on the west side highway to see if they could see pedestrians or anyone hurt in the brush there. so it was a terrifying scene to say the least and it looks like
they're still -- people are still trying to figure out what exactly happened here. >> louis, you said you saw a truck plowed down the bike path? did you see it? >> reporter: i came to the scene just moments after it passed but there were a lot of people standing in the middle of west side highway, construction workers that were working at a nearby building that were giving me that eyewitness kind of account. >> we have a picture up right now, louis, of the after math of what you described, badly damaged bicycles on that path and members of nypd walking along that scene you're describing. you're describing what sounds like triage, people evaluating
the injured. >> reporter: it was triage, and the first to arrive at the scene were police officers and there were police officers on the ground with victims doing their best to help them. and like i said, the one cyclist who was right in front of where i was standing, seemed to be very, very badly injured and they were performing cpr on him, you know, three police officers were there with one, looked like a paramedic or emt, ambulances had not arrived on the scene yet and they were trying to bring this person back to life. just terrifying and very difficult to watch. >> louis, do you have the sense, i mean i can't hear any ambulances of the back ground of your shot, but do you have a sense if the first responders have transported the victims to area hospitals? or are you still hearing and seeing ambulances leaving the scene? >> reporter: ambulances have
been coming and going and i did witness them loading two pedestrians, i'm not sure if they were pedestrians or a cyclist, that was lying on the ground in the brush by the bike path put on stretchers and taken to the hospital. so i have seen them transport victims from the location where i'med a. >> if you're just joining us, we are covering breaking news on the lower west side of manhattan. we have reports that multiple people are dead, several are injured, that's korlaccording t senior new york city official. we have with us louis bergdorff this was on the scene just moments after. can you describe the sequence of events this afternoon? >> i was standing just outside my building and i heard
obviously people running and screaming and, you know, that kind of gets your attention, doesn't normally happen, it's a pretty quiet area down here in lower manhattan and there is a bike path that just runs along the west side highway that is normally around this time, usually it's you know, 3:00, 4:00 in the afternoon, then it was probably 2:45, it seemed to be fairly still busy, people were out walking about. what i saw was terrifying, i saw mangled bikes and people, pedestrians lays on ting on the ground, and i saw first responders, police officers driving up and frantically running up and down that west side highway bike path for a long stretch. tending to multiple people on the ground, and so stunning was it wasn't in just one location.
you know when somebody gets hit by a bicycle a car, it stops at that spot. but i'm at canal street where canal meets the west site highway, and there were first responders and police officers going up north of where i was up to howston down to below where i am. they were trying to bring people back to life, there was a man they were giving him chest compressions and mouth to mouth, cpr, and it was a very, very tough situation. now it seems like there are a lot of ambulances on the scene, but at this time, there really was only police officers and maybe a few emts, the fires trucks are just starting to kind of roll into the scene, and the street wasn't blocked off so traffic was still kind of rolling through, so it was a kind of chaotic scene.
>> louis, thank you for the firsthand account. i'm joined now by nbc's investigative reporter who has joined us on set. what are we learning from new york law enforcement officials, are there more questions than answers at this point? >> i saw earlier at the scene, we saw the chief of detectives robert boyce, i saw james waters at the scene, these are the officials you would expect to respond. you see that home depot truck that seems to be the truck that was involved in this incident. what we don't know at the time is whether or not this is some sort of an accident or something that's intentional. it sure appears, based on the length of that this person was driving on that bike path and i'm very familiar with it. and the distance that he traveled, it would be a little
bit difficult to believe that this is an accident but officials have not ruled in a motive at this point. right now we're seeing that multiple people are dead, plu multiple people are injured. there's no indication that this is involving the world trade center. but if you know where the world trade center. that's almost exactly where this truck stopped, about a block north of it, what you're seeing right on scene. and based on louis's description of where he is we know that this vehicle travelled a good 15 blocks before it came to a stop. obviously we know from the injuries, talking to people, senior new york city officials that there's several injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. we have been looking at a picture where there were bikes that were mangled on this bike and pedestrian path. and this goes all the way from the west side of man hhattan an
new york city. so it appears this person drove along this way for some distance, my colleague jonathan dean from wnbc, it's reported that the suspect is in custody, but that he's at bellevue hospital, which is a trauma center. we don't know how the driver's injured. the two preliminary things we're hearing is there may have been some sort of gun fire exchange involving the suspect as this ended in lower manhattan. the other thing that we're hearing is that he was obviously driving on that bike path and we have that video to show you as well. right now speaking with people as i came from the fourth floor down to join you in this studio, they're trying to figure out why was this person driving there, we have had things like this before that have been medical
incidents. >> more frighteningly, more vehicles have been involved in terrorist attacks around the world. >> and we have to talk about that as a possibility here. the first thing the nypd has to figure out here what exactly happened. there's been conflicting reports of whether this person had some sort of weapon that they had fired prior to this incident occurring. i know they have multiple helicopters that are always on stand by and they have them overhead right now to help in the search along the water front. >> let's bring in to the conversation by phone manny gomez, a retired nypd sergeant and retired fbi special agent. thank you for joining us. i wonder if you could tell us what the process is under way
from nypd and any other law enforcement officials that would be looking into this, is the fbi on scene as well? >> the fbi is absolutely on scene, in fact i have seen several wind breakers from fbi agents that are on the scene. now they're trying to discern what this is. is it a crime of what happened in times square recently, where you had someone who was high on drugs and went on to the sidewalk and killed people. or is this a motivated, perhaps terrorist inspired event. and so we need to find out what the motivation for this individual was in order to discern is this a terrorist act, and are we safe? because if it is a terrorist act, the concern obviously is was he acting in concert with others, was he part of a cell,
did he gets resources or training? did he travel abroad? these are all the things that the fbi and the nypd are analyzing as we speak. they're also checking video because obviously down in lower manhattan in that area, every square inch of that area is covered by some sort of video so they will try to get the historical data from videotapes as to what transpired throughout this incident. it's reported that he traveled numerous blocks, so we'll see what the final injury count is, but it seems to me that if he really did travel multiple blocks, that this is going to be worse than initially reported. the good news is that he is
under custody and that he doesn't pose a threat to others. but the investigation is going to continue as to who this person is, is he part of a bigger group, was he acting alone, was he inspired by some sort of terrorist group? and they will get to the bottom of everything that this person is and has been throughout his entire life. >> and i'm sure your sources are telling you this already, but let me just share with our viewers something that you alluded to, the driver was shot by police, taken to bellevue as we have discussed. he's being treated by the police as someone who acted intentionally. it was an zenintentional act. so they have ruled us the scenario that there was any kind of medical emergency that could
have caused him to drive his truck on this very, very crowded bike lane full of kids, it's halloween here in new york city, kids and families and adults, we see the wreckage of the twisted bikes that he hit. if you could talk to us about how that changes an investigation, that it's been determined that this was an intentional act by law enforcement. >> it's an intentional act motivated by what? and that's the ultimate question, the motivation, the intent was to hurt as many people as possible, obviously, but what was the motivation? was it because he was under the influence of narcotics? was it because he was inspired by some sort of terrorist organization? was it because he was angry because he was fired? once we get to the motivation, then we know what we have in hand and right now i have ever
confidence that the fbi and the nypd are getting to the bottom of who this person is, they're sending agents and detectives out to investigate who this person is, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, they're going to go back to this person's entire life to try to ascertain how did he come to this point an hour ago and having these numerous casualties and fatalities. >> and tom winters is here, we're hearing that there's six people dead from this tragedy? >> i'm going to hold back details right now because the investigation is a very sensitive point. but law enforcement believes talking to a senior law enforcement official that this was an intentional act and that
the individual who was involved in this who is now in bellevue hospital did this purposefully, that changes the investigation considerationab considerably, we know the perpetrator ran over several people, this is a bike path, this happened just before 4:00 today and my colleagues at wnbc are reporting six dead, i had heard that earlier, so that appears to be confirmed now and at least 15 injured and it was told to me to expect those numbers to possibly increase. at this time of day, with this type of weather, that would be a pretty crowded bike path and the headline news now is this is an intentional act, police are investigating it as that and this is going to be a very involved investigation at this point, as which confirm some of the details that we're hearing, we want to be very cautious, we'll get back with you right away on that.
>> savannah guthrie who had occasion to be there, described schools being on lockdown, should we read anything into that in terms of if there's an ongoing threat in new york city? some new york city officials have said there is no threat. but is that something, schools being on lockdown is that standard procedure after an event like this? or is that a clue about what the ongoing threat to the citizens of new york city? >> numerous people have been injured. you don't know what you're dealing withi inright away, thes numerous schools, several large schools that are in lower manhatt manhattan, first thing you want to do is keep all the kids inside, even if this is just a horrible accident from a medical
condition, these a very active scene, with police, fire, responders getting down there, you want to keep the kids inside, now that you're looking at this as an intentional act, is there another actor, is sergeant gomez, or something else there that could be being looked at. we know one person was in custody, and police didn't believe that anybody else was involved, but certainly in this sort of circumstance, when you know it's an intentional act, you got to do what's in the best interests of public safety, especially kids, you don't want them around an active crime scene saand it could be potentially dangerous. >> we understand that the governor is en route to the scene, the mayor was en route to the scene, we know this was an intentional act, that a truck was involved, that the driver of that truck traveled seven blocks, six people, at least six people are dead, 15 are injured.
all of this taking place on halloween, in a busy time of day in new york city. almost every time of day is busy, but this was a bike path traveled by kids, traveled by commuters, and this happened in sort of the after school hours. what kinds of questions would law enforcement be asking of a suspect even if he is injured and being treated at bellevue right now? >> well, number one why he did it, number two, if there's anybody involved, and if so who are they and where are they at and number three, everything about the individual, they're going to find out everything whether he tells them or not because once they find out who he is. even if he doesn't have any id with him, they'll check his fingerprints, they'll find out who this individual is and think
have thousands of detectives that are going to be working round the clock to find out if this person was a lone actor, trained, inspired, received instructions or resources from a terrorist organization, if so, who, what, when and where? and if so, they're going to ensure this is an isolated incident. though tragic that it is an isolatesed incident and that there is no threats of another such incident. a big concern is a copycat. this person did it, so maybe i can do it as well. >> so the fbi joint terror task force, commonly referred to as the jttf is responding and is assisting at the scene, does that tell you anything about the
direction that this investigation is taking sergeant gomez? >> it tells me once the jttf takes over, that they are going to potentially treat this like an act of terrorism and so this changes direction because once we have that in hand, now we know that it's not only intentional, but that it appears that indeed, it was an act of terrorism and that is -- will be a concern because, again, there could be another lone wolf out there that could be watching this and saying, hey, i can do this as well. so they're going to get to the bottom of who this individual is, and the good news is, once again that he's in custody, but now we need to find out if there's anybody else involved in this terrible act.
>> nbc news correspondent ron allen is on the scene in lower manhattan, and ron, we just got the news here, wnbc is reporting that the joint terrorism task force is on the scene and assisting. what are you seeing on the ground? >> reporter: i can see police here that they be part of that team. the area is blocked off now, about a four square block area, and we're roughly two blocks from the world trade center towers here along west street. west street, for those who are not familiar with this. is a very busy three-lane almost like a highway, that runs right along the edge of manhattan and this bike lane skirts the edges of manhattan. there's a lot of kids out, there's a lot of pedestrians
out. there are kids walking around in their halloween costumes, we have talked to people who were told by police to go inside and hunker down in place. and one man reported hearing four or five gunshots and running to safety from whatever was going on. another woman told us that she saw the police open fire on this individual and they saw him hit the ground. not a very good description of the individual, because again when you talk to witnesses they are panicked themselves and not sure what's happening. but it's a very, very chaotic scene, you have to appreciate that, at this time of day in manhattan, on a crisp, fall afternoon, this place is just crammed with tourists and people who are downtown because we're just within blocks of the world trade center. i just saw two people being taken away from the scene by
emts, they didn't seem to be on life support and they were sitting on the edge of the bike path while the emts were attending to them and they were just taken away to an do underground parking garage. it doesn't look like the authorities are looking for anybody, they're not searching for anybody. it seems like what over happened, it seems to be over. there's questions about who, why, and what this was. apparently it was an intentional act. the carnage here could have been much, much worse, certainly as tragic as it is. but again, just a very, very crowded area of new york city and at this point there are at least a four square block area that's cordoned off. we're expecting the mayor, the governor, the police chief,
which underscores the severity of what's happening here on this afternoon in new york city. >> tom winter is back and looks like you're just off the phone with some sources do you have new information? >> i have talked to several law enforcement officials in new york city, they are investigating this as a terrorist act at this point. so multiple senior law enforcement officials nbc news at this hour that they are investigating this as a terror incident. that's coming from statements that the suspect said or may have explained towards the end of this incidence. they're investigating whether or not he fired some sort of a pellet or air gun at the end of the incident. that's under investigation, so a lot of these officers that you see close to this truck, right now they're trying to search and look for any sort of casinge ii any sort of evidence.
b the joint terrorism task force is investigating this, or is on scene at least and at this point it appears as if they are going to look at this as a terrorist act. sometimes it turned out not to be that. i want to be a little bit cautious, but there's some specific things and some details i'm aware of that they are looking at in this investigation that's pointing them have strongly towards that. >> obviously we're sharing with our viewers everything that we're learning but nbc is now able to confirm that law enforcement is viewing this at this poupt ints a as intentionat and as a potential terrorist incident? >> yes, they need to get an identification on this suspect. they need to figure out if he knows anybody, is this somebody
who may be known to law enforcement. does he have any immediate connections? >> what kind of people are known to law enforcement? the jttf is one of the most sophisticated sort of city wide terrorist units in the world, isn't it? and wouldn't anyone sort of on a watch list or anyone that people have suspicions about be on their radar? is that the kind of list they're checking the suspect against? >> there are all those types of lists is this somebody we have had interactions with before. i could make a call and say i heard nicole saying something in the hall ways of nbc and that may be determined enough to look at it. and of course it may have been something completely innocuoused the at the end of the day, or maybe it's someone they talked to an informant about. and those are some of the things they might check, those things
are happening but we don't know until a little bit further down the line. >> we are turning around video from wnbc that appears to be the gunman running down the street with what appear to be two guns, we know one was a beebee gun that was found at the scene, law enforcement still not able to confirm whether or not those were real or fake guns. but i believe that's what we just showed you. is that right? okay, do we want to put that up again? wnbc is airing this video, what you're watching right there in that shot, is what appears to be the gunman, this is coming from wnbc our sister station here in new york city. here appears to be the gunman running down the street, with what appear to be two guns, we understand at this point one is a beebee gun that was found at the scene, we don't know if those are toy guns very real guns. again you are looking at video
of the gunman running down the street. >> what does this tell you about the system after law enforcement closed in on him and the way he responded? >> he didn't have a plap aftn a he stopped his truck. >> law enforcement is trying to figure out if these guns were real. one appears to be a pellet gun or a beebee gun, and now they're trying to find out if he had an actual gun. as you have been reporting, they have only been looking at one suspect and we only see one suspect there. so it tells me if this was some sort of actually attack here, we know that there's a preliminary thoughts here that they're looking at this as terrorism. it tells me he didn't have much of a plan as he crashed this truck, it was at least seven blocks but tra s but perhaps m that. >> in this bike path doing
grave, grave harm. >> at least two killed on that bike path alone. >> and at least six have lost their lives this afternoon. 15 are injured. joining me nbc's law enforcement analyst jim cavanaugh, i wonder if you could give us your thoughts about what we know at this hour. >> well, nicole, tom's reporting and what the authorities are saying looking at it as terrorism. is consistent with the overall picture we see, a long crime scene, seven to 14 city blocks, we see maybe a rental vehicle involved, again we have seen that in a lot of terrorist attacks. and the gunman who jumps out maybe with a paint ball gun, maybe with a beebee gun, which is not inconsistent with terror attacks as well. we have seen attacks in europe where the killers had hoax bombs strapped on them. other attacks where they used real firearms or beebee guns or
paint guns. sometimes they just use what they have. and we know that groups like isis and al qaeda have encouraged vehicle attacks. while it's not absolute, the length of the crime scene, the actor getting out with weapons acting like he's going to shoot or harm others, midday, broad daylight, a rental vehicle. all these things also look toward it could be a terrorist attack. >> and you're describing the brazenness of the attack, you mentioned europe. we sadly have covered terrorist attacks in barcelona and nice just in the last, i think, year and a half, also carried out with a vehicle. is this in law enforcement and counter terrorism circles, is this one of those tools that keeps people up at night because it is one so accessible and two so deadly? >> that's right, nicole, i mean
law enforcement is prepared to deal with this, to shoot and stop vehicle attacks, but you have to get there first. and you talked about the nice attack with the huge truck they used and all the death in that, and police had to shoot the driver. so they were running people over, shooting out the windows. so these attacks have just become copycat attacks as well for inspired actors, inspired terrorists to just get a rental vehicle and drive it into a pedestrian area. and maybe in this case, nicole, as you have been reporting and reporters on the ground, almost an exclusive pedestrian and bicycle area, which gives them a clear path to wreak havoc because there's no other vehicle that blocks their vehicle. when you're in traffic, sometimes you can't go. but when you're on a bike path or a pedestrian mall, you can
just floor it and speed up. >> let me ask you, having worked in the government on 9/11, afterward, all of the after action analysis, there was this question if there was any uptick in chatter? were you aware in law enforcement circles any increased anxiety, maybe because it's halloween, and it's not far in distance from the world trade center, obviously the site of the attacks on 9/11. >> you're correct, nicole. you're talking about about the joint terrorism task forces, i was on the executive committees on some of those in the field and i had many agents assigned to those across the country. the fbi spear heads them but all the agencies are involved. and we always pay attention to these anywhere dates and we pay specific attention when groups like al qaeda would come out and say, make a bomb in the kitchen or use a truck as a mowing
machine. we always paid attention to that. and nypd is paying attention as well. they have deployed their hurricalur hurcules team. and everybody should pay attention, because whenever you have one, you always have to worry about a second one, but as the hours go by, that is relieved a little bit. so they're on their game there, but it's hard to stop every single attack. >> and we're going to bring our viewers up to spid wieed with everything we know, a little after 3:00 this afternoon, a truck plowed into a bike lane on the lower west side of manhattan, not far from the world trade center. tom winter, could you bring us up to speed from the latest information you're learning from law enforcement. sing since we came on the air at
4:00, this has become a terrorism investigation. can you tell us if the mayor, mayor de blasio and the governor are being briefed right now? what will they be learning and what will they will asking and what other re-sources can be deployed now that this is being investigated as a terrorism incident. >> the chief of the nypt, officer boyce. he's giving a first hadn't account. he's in that room right now and he's ruin ee's surrounded by al terrorism officials, the mayor, the governor, and in that room right now, they're running through the preliminary aspects of this investigation. they're runningthrough, here's what we have from the stand point of fatalities and injuries, this is what we know about the suspect, this is what we don't know about the suspect, this is a possible motive and
here's where we think the investigation is going. it's a tense room, usually 20 to 30 people. and inside of that room they'll come out and brief us once they have gone through and once they understand from's some information we don't want to put out, we have a prosecution possibly in this case, there's certain information they don't want to divulge, but there's obviously information they want to tell the public. and what we know is that because of certain things, and certain ways that the suspect behaved and certain things they have gathered from the scene, they are going to looking at this as a terrorism investigation. jonathan dean said the fbi's joint terrorism task force is there to assist in the investigation. we know that this individual drove at least seven blocks. we know at least six people died on this pedestrian and bike
path. and tom bergdolf said that this was even a little bit more north of where he was. right now the nypd's aviation unit is overhead, canvassing, they're looking to see, what did this guy fire, we saw that incredible video, what was coming out of his weapons, was there another weapon that he may have had or fired. >> let me just tell our viewers, the president of the united states has been briefed on the incident. this is coming from a statement from sarah huckabee sanders, she said the president is being briefed and will be updated as more details are known and we have an eyewitness account that we're able to show you. >> guy got out, with like a biker jacket and started
shooting up the place, all the kids were in the courtyard at psa united, and that's when we ran up to this area. the kids went into this building. the driver of the special ed bus looked really concerned. and then i went to the other side and it's all caved in, poor girl is stuck right above the wheel well, there were two very nice looking kids that were just like stuck by the window, it was all blown out. >> obviously a harrowing account. but i'm guessing that this is the process law enforcement goesthrough, they're piecing together as many firsthand accounts, witness accounts, anything that you glean from what you just heard that's part of that investigation? >> sure, so i gleaned a couple of things, this was as close to the schools as i had fweered.
there's a preliminary report that there may actually have been a school buss involved. i have heard that from two officialses that are at the scene, that's something we're going to need to iron out. but we know there were multiple schools near this. that's of course very concerning, it adds to something i mentioned to you during that video, it doesn't appear that that suspect necessarily had a plan once he stopped of and i can tell you from three law enforcement officials that not only is it headed towards terrorism but apparently the suspect uttered something once he exited that vehicle, he usut uttered something that was of concerning to law enforcement officials. at this point the preliminary investigation is terrorism, as we're hearing from our station wnbc, my colleague jonathan dean, six dead, 16 injured, it's not a good scene in lower manhattan, in a neighborhood
that's del ee's dealt with a lo tragedy over the last couple of years. >> it is a horrific scene, let me reset the scene, this afternoon a person driving a truck on to the bike path in lower manhattan, an act being investigated as a terrorist incident. took the lives of six individuals, we know that the governor and the mayor are currently being briefed, tom, you're monitoring that, if that briefing breaks up. >> we do have a little bit of information on the suspect at this point, it is a male is in his mid 30s, he's at bellevue hospital in new york city, he was taken into custody after the incident. it's a little unclear if police engaged him in gun fire, or if he was arrested at the scene, but we do know that he's at new york city's bellevue hospital. that's the logical trauma center
where they would take somebody along those lines, so that's what we do know about the male at this time. >> joining me is micha, from wh have learned and seen and what we're watching together, what's your sense of what happened here in new york city today? >> the timeline, initial reports was, this is a traffic accident and maybe even road rage, then when they began to get reports as to what the individual actually did, leaving the vehicle with a gun and selecting individual targets. do not prejudge, it's being investigated as a terrorism event right now, but it's way too early and we're trying to get the definitive information about how many people have been killed how many people have been injured.
how many shots were fired. how many officers engaged the individual. did he act alone? was this a random act? was he part of a cell? or just suddenly decided today was going to be the day when he was going to take measures into his own hands. >> and obviously targeting innocent civilians is a hallmark of a terrorist attack should it take that direction, the use of a vehicle is one that we have seen in barcelona scene last summer, and in nice france a year ago last summer. in terms of the scenarios that keep folks like yourself with expertise in this area up at night? is this something that's particularly deadly because of the ease with which anybody can access a vehicle? >> you're absolutely correct, this is the scenario that causes everybody the most trouble, because there's no truly no way
to stop it. you're not going to be able to screen everybody driving into a place like manhattan or any urban center. civilian populations, particularly in a city like this, a lot of people walking at any time are always a vulnerability. and the other thing that becomes very difficult for the police is what is the platform? you can never assume that what's happened in the past is going to happen in the future. are there explosives on the truck? did he act alone? is there somebody else out there? are there other attacks? these are the difficult cascading questions that come to mind whenever any of these incidents happen. >> the city of new york, the state of new york city, these tragic home of the 9/11 attacks, obviously has some of the most sophisticated counter terror agents investigators in the world, the world over, looks to new york city and new york
state. could you talk about the sophistication of the investigation even at this early stage? >> the city years ago after 9/11 set up a system of cameras and license plate readers in an attempt to try to create new york's version of the ring of sca steel where they have eyes on every street all the time to be able to coordinate not only with intel units but also with responding units so you can have a very cohesive response. >> and before 9/11 that was very familiar in london, right? >> the european experience is obviously different than the united states, it had the issue with the ira years ago because they saw the vulnerability of the urban center and they have evolved since then. the interesting things is that there's an intel center right here in this area, and the fbi and the new york police
department have some of the finest intel analysts right the there. so one of the things they've been learning is that the intel they have been receiving is almost too much. >> we're going to watch another eyewitness account right now. >> down to see where the truck went, i hear nine or ten gunshots and that's when i ducked out of the way and all the police came running towards where i was, not knowing what's going on, they don't know what happened. they were just as much confused as i was. when they cleared the area, i go down to chambers street, i see a yellow bus that this truck clearly crashed into. and on the yellow school bus there were a couple of adults on there, and the fdny were taking
them out. just getting off work, i just wanted to go watch the baseball game tonight. >> do you think he wanted to be in that truck? >> it looked intention. when i looked, i see a car in the bike lane, it's 3:00 in the afternoon, who drives in the bike lane. >> did it look like it had been on the bike lane prior. >> it looked like he started out there, he was going really fast, and the way the two gentlemen were, he was going very fast and they didn't know what hit them. >> why did you know this was an intentional act? >> because he was flying down that bike lane. so there was road rage, somebody has more than road rage to do something like that. >> how fast was he going? >> about two or three blocks he
was in the bike lane. >> were people able to get out of the way? >> how tags was he going? >> 450 or 60 miles an hour. >> did you see any increase in his speed? >> when i saw faster, like pre down on the accelerator? >> yeah, yeah. >> what were the condition of the people who were hit? >> mangled. mangled. one gentleman's leg was hanging by skin. the other gentleman had tire marks going across his chest. his eye were open. you could tell. i saw a paramedic running towards me. and i said look, two bodies are here. he kept running to see if there was more people. >> what is it like having witnessed that. shocking. it's not something i have seen before. like i said i just want to go home and watch the astros win the world series tonight, and i see this, you know, it's horrifying. >> gene, you said you saw aschool bus and some adults being taken out of school bus.
>> terrifying firsthand accounts from witnesses. you are getting some reportable information about the investigation? >> nicole, my colleague jonathan dooens and i have from at least four senior law enforce men officials this is a full-fledged terrorism investigation at this point. the suspect upon crashing his vehicle got out, shouted "allah akbar" several times. believe he may have also hit a school bus as well. there were injuries on that school bus. i have that from several officials. and after he yelled allah akbar he then proceeded to start firing that pelt gun, and possibly another gun, not sure if it's fake or real or not, either way this is a full-fledged terrorism investigation at this point. the fbi's joint terrorism task force in coordination go the n.y.p.d. are investigate. as you were discussing before, we know that senior new york city officials and the new york governor are being briefed right now. and that's briefing happening with the top 20, 30 officials in
the city to discuss what's going on. and we know that the suspect, who has been identified to us as a male in his mid 30s. he's of middle eastern description on him. that's how law enforcement is pet putting it out. i'm repeating what they are telling us. that's coming from three officials directly briefed on the investigation as well as the reporting of my colleague jonathan dooens. a an incident we all hoped to be a minor one a traffic incident is turning out to be a deadly and very concerning one this afternoon in new york city. >> what are you hearing from law enforcement about the degree of cooperation, if any, from the driver? >> it's the right question. it's just too soon to know. we know that the driver was take tony bellevue hospital in new york city. it's unclear whether he engaged with gunfire before or -- or after he got out of that car. i am a looking at an evidence technician and the n.y.p.d.'s
crime scene people. you are looking at the screen, the crime scene people are on the right. they are in an evidence gathering phase. it's unclear whether the suspect is in a position to talk. i don't know the seriousness of his injuries. if he is able the talk, if he is cooperating with police. this is an active investigation. home depot issued a statement saying yes indeed that was our truck. it appears to be a rental truck. it rents for $19 a day. you can see the advertisement there on the back of the truck. i do know in the new york city area counter-terrorism officials regularly go to these rental places and say hey we've seen this in other places, in europe, you want to be on the lookout for anyone that comes in. are they acting suspicious, is there anything about the way that they are behaving that you may want to be concerned about before you represent them a box
truck arc van, i vehicle like this. i know that's a regular priority of the jtts in new york and new jersey and the philadelphia region. this is something that law enforcement is very proactive about. to your point earlier, this has to be one of the most canvassed areas when it comes to cameras in the country. when it comes to camera, this is approximately one block north of the world trade center. you know, there is cameras on the street. there is cameras in the alley ways. they have all sorts of ways to monitor this. for investigators it will be easy for them to track this vehicle from the moment it got on the pedestrian bike pathway in what now appears to be a terrorism incident. >> while you were talking, we were watching the video of the witness who, you know, is only someone who sees something like that firsthand. you just could hear him in his own shock and the horror what have he had just seen coming through in a chilling manner. but you said under your breath,
nice, barcelona, we have seen this before? >> we have seen this before. and the utterance of that phrase, allah akbar, god is great has been the hallmark of the people who commit these attacks, london bridge, outside of parliament, in germany. these have all had this type of spontaneous effort utilizing anything at their means. the fact if in fact he targeted the school bus, targeting children, you know, to be the most deadly and outrageous attacks you can think of of innocent children and individuals, to just send the most chilling message that they can because they are losing. one of the pieces that we must keep in mind is they have lost their caliphate. they don't have that in the middle east anymore. they are having to go to a digital caliphate to try to inspire their members to go out and commit attacks anywhere they can. undoesn't fortunately, this is the -- we haven't seen this in
the united states. this would be the first time we have seen this type of attack in an urban center like this. >> can you talk about the digital caliphate. during the "charlie hebdo" attack they talked about one of the first things law enforcement will do is look at the digital fingerprint of a suspect. talk about that process. >> the program we were reference in term of the camera in that area is called the lower manhattan security initiative. that has been a program designed by the n.y.p.d., and incredibly effective program. it's going to provide a treasure trove of information about this vehicle and where it was. but they are also going to go for this person themself. they are going to their home and gets in their computers, what website were they visiting work were they communicating with? they will talk to everybody. the same thing that happened in the chelsea bombing. you canvassed everybody who could have possibly come in contact with him try to find out
was he working with someone else? was he inspired? was he part of a cell? what caused him to do this. >> was itself radicalization or was he radicalized. we have a video. we showed it before but want to tell you more about it. wnbc aired a video of an individual. this was shot around the same time. we believe this to be the suspect who got out of his car after mowing down 3ed streens and bikers on that bike path on the lower west side of manhattan. he's carrying two guns. we understand at least one of them to be a beebe gun. we doept do not know if the other is real or not. tom winter, nbc news investigative reporter now confirming that at some point either before or after he started running, he chanted. >> allah akbar. >> god is great. >> he chanted that apparently after crashing the truck. >> and before making this run. >> and before making this run.
that's correct. there was some indication he may have also hit a school bus. several people have told myself that and jonathan dooens but we are trying to track that down, where that might have occurred and what injuries may have occurred as a result of that. but we have been told by senior officials after getting crashing the car, the middle eastern man gets out who is in his middle 30s. that's the description from law enforcement. and it was said he started yell allah akbar once he got out of the vehicle. we don't have an identification on the suspect at this time. >> could that be that they know and don't with a tonight share it. again, we want to show more about what we know of this video. this was aired on w nbc. we believe this is the suspect. this was shot at the scene of the incident but we are trying to verify and confirm that his
identity is the man who plowed down and sild six individuals and injured 15. >> based on the description we have been given and the description that he fired some sort of pellet gun afterwards, given that i know this intersection well, it appears to be an authentic video. and it does not appear yet that he had an actual firearm, a semiautomatic or a pistol or anything like that. we do know he's in custody. he's at bellevue hospital. he's not identified because they are not giving us the name. but there were other facets of the investigation that i was asked to withhold briefly. >> that's the priority. >> as soon as we have what we can share with you we surely will. >> that's standard for an investigation. >> the hard thing here is everybody wants answers immediately. we saw that in the las vegas shooting. everybody wants it now. you have got to let the investigation go where it takes
you. up with correction. in ohio state a couple years ago there was in fact a vehicle attack. it was a smaller degree to this. this would not be the first time for an attack like this. but certainly in this size of a city this is a first. >> we are going to stay on the story. chuck todd is going to pick it up from down in washington. >> thank you nicole, be afl yourself going home. i'm worried about all of you up there. we are following that breaking news coming over, a deadly incident in new york city. w nbc reports at least six dead and 15 more are injured after a vehicle drove at least seven blocks through a pedestrian and bicycle path in lower moip after the 3:00 p.m. hour in afternoon. the suspect identified as a man in his mid 30s exited the vehicle and shouted allah akbar before tiring a pellet gun and poib