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Truck in New York strikes pedestrians, police apprehend driver

Truck in New York strikes pedestrians, police apprehend driver
A New York Police Department vehicle blocks a U-Haul rental vehicle, where according to media reports a man struck multiple people and the NYPD took the driver into custody, near the Battery tunnel in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, US on Feb 13, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters

NEW YORK — Police in New York City have arrested a U-Haul truck driver accused of deliberately ploughing into pedestrians on Monday (Feb 13), injuring at least eight people before officers chased him down and stopped the vehicle, authorities said.

The "violent rampage" through the Bay Ridge neighbourhood of New York's Brooklyn borough left two victims hospitalised in critical condition and two in serious condition, city Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters on Monday afternoon, standing in front of the intersection where the truck was halted.

Four others sustained minor injuries, she said, adding that a police officer was among those who were hurt.

As of late Monday afternoon, police had not publicly identified the suspect. But the New York Times, citing two senior law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity, gave the driver's name as Weng Sor.

NBC reported he is 62 years old. Reuters was not able to independently verify the driver's identity.

Shortly after the arrest, Justin Brannan, a city council member who represents the area, told news outlet NY1 that the incident "seemed random but was obviously on purpose."

"This driver knew what he was doing, knew that he was hitting people," Brannan said, adding that when the driver was pulled over, he told police: "I want to die."

A video clip aired on WABC-TV showed a truck narrowly missing a pedestrian on a sidewalk, with a police cruiser in pursuit. The pedestrian had to jump out of the truck's path to avoid a collision.

The incident occurred on the same day that a federal jury began weighing whether to impose the death penalty in the trial of Sayfullo Saipov, the extremist convicted of intentionally driving a truck down a New York City bike path in 2017, killing eight people.

Attorneys at the Saipov penalty proceedings briefly discussed the Brooklyn U-Haul rampage while the jury was out of the courtroom. Defence lawyers asked for a mistrial, saying news of the latest incident could be prejudicial to jurors. The judge denied the motion.

Police did not suggest any connection between the two incidents.

"At this time, we have no indication that there is any terrorism involvement in this incident," Sewell said of Monday's violence.

Both Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul were briefed on the incident, officials said.

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