November 1, 2017
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Good morning, everyone. Now, regarding our joint NYPD-FBI investigation into yesterday’s truck terror attack on the West Side of Lower Manhattan – today, we’re going to give you an update on some of the things we’ve learned overnight. You’re going to get an update on the injured from FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro, then you’ll hear from Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.
I want to thank for being here Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Joon Kim the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Commissioner Roger Parrino is here from the New York State Homeland Security, and then Joe Esposito from OEM – the Commissioner of OEM is here also. I’d also like to thank the State Police for being here today and for everything they did yesterday.
Chief of the Department Carlos Gomez is going to lay out some of the security plans we have in place in light of yesterday’s event and ahead of Sunday’s New York City Marathon. He’ll also give you an update on the traffic situation on the West Side.
Bill Sweeny, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, will make a statement, and then John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intel and Counterterrorism will share with you some of the details about the work that we’re doing on this case.
Because you have to understand that this investigation is still in its infancy. We do not yet have all of the answers, and there are details today and there will be more down the road and not everything we’re going to be able to share with you. You understand that? You know in terms of casualties this was the worst terror attack in New York City since September 11th, 2011.
I want to take a minute to commend all New Yorkers, I want to commend everyone who lives in, works in, and visits our great city because no one in this city is complacent. We saw the strength of that resolve last night with the very large crowds that attended the annual Halloween Parade in The Village. And we’ll see it again on Sunday when 50,000 compete in the marathon and another 2.5 million people cheer – cheer them along the route.
The NYPD, the FBI and all of our law enforcement and private sector partners remembers our past. And we work very, very hard together each and every day to prevent the type of thing that occurred here yesterday. What happened yesterday was not okay. It will never be something any of us will just accept as inevitable. Since 9/11 we, again along with our partners at the local, state, and federal level, have disrupted or prevented two dozen plots against New York City. Countless lives have been saved.
But none of that matters when eight innocent lives are taken by a criminal committing a cowardly act driving a rental truck. We are working hard to get to the bottom of exactly what happened yesterday and why. And we’re working tirelessly to prevent anything like this from getting repeated.
I tell you as often as I can that true public safety is a shared responsibility. Law enforcement, government agencies are doing what we can, and the men and women who work with us do it better than anyone anywhere in the world. But we need everyone’s help. There are more than 8.5 million people in New York City plus all the people who commute in every day and all the tourist. That’s a minimum of 17 million extra eyes and ears and gut feelings that can remain vigilant on behalf of all of us. I talk about this all the time. If you see something out there that doesn’t look right, if it makes you uncomfortable, you have an obligation to make a call or to flag down a police car. At least give us the opportunity to investigate that.
I want to thank everyone for their ongoing help today and every day. And thank you again for the swift response yesterday by the NYPD officers and New York State Police, the firefighters and EMS workers who did a really great job under the circumstances.
Now right now let me introduce FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro. Dan’s going to give you an update on the injuries from yesterday. Dan.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro: Thank you, I’m going to be the very non-specific regarding the privacy of the victims. There were 20 victims at yesterday’s attack. Six of them were pronounced dead at the scene. We transported 14 victims to three hospitals, two of those victims were pronounced. So the total number of deaths were eight, six of those were citizens of other countries, five from Argentina, one from Germany, two were Americans. Of the 12 remaining, thankfully three have been released from the hospital, nine remain in the hospital. Four of those were critically injured but are in stable condition. The others are seriously injured. The injuries ranged from a bi-lateral amputation, to serious head, neck, back, and chest trauma, and trauma to arms and legs. This was a heinous attack that resulted in eight deaths and serious injuries. Our prayers are with the families of those who died and those who remain in the hospital.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Commissioner Nigro. And thank you to all the men and women of the FDNY, all the first responders, all the EMTs who went to the aid of those were afflicted and did it so well.
I want to start by thanking all of my colleagues who are here. Thank you, Governor Cuomo and all of our State partners who are here, all of our federal partners. Thank you, Congressman Jerry Nadler for joining us. Everyone is here in common cause.
This was an attack on the United States of America, an attack on New York City, an attack on our people. And it was the definition of terrorism, an effort to take away people’s hope and spirit and to make them change.
And what New Yorkers showed already is we will not change. We will not be cowed. We will not be thrown off by anything. And this cowardly act, targeting the most innocent people in the middle of the most innocent pursuits was meant to make people feel they could not go about their daily lives. And what we saw last night – Governor Cuomo and I went to our annual Halloween parade – a million New Yorkers showed up for that event.
And as we spoke with them, they were undeterred. They were strong. It made me very proud of New York City and all the people of this country to see that strength in the face of adversity. This morning people went to work, kids went to school. No one thought there was any choice but to stand up to this act of terror.
So, as we now move forward, we start with giving our prayers to the families of the eight who were killed. They, as you heard – six of them came from other nations here because they saw New York as a special place to be, and we now and forever will consider them New Yorkers.
They shared this tragedy with us. We will remember as New Yorkers. They were here because this city is a beacon to people all over the world, a place that every kind of person comes to and is respected – and that won’t change.
Eight-and-a-half million people, here, we understand this was an attack on our values. It was an effort to break our spirit. But as an effort to break our spirit, it failed.
New York City is a very strong a resilient place. We have great faith in the men and women who protect us. We have such pride in the NYPD and we see them on duty and we know they are the very best.
So, we’re strong, we’re a resilient people because we know we’re protected and we know that this place works when people don’t feel deterred.
And I’ll tell you this violence was an effort to make us blink and we won’t blink. We won’t change.
The NYPD, yesterday, showed us once again how much New Yorkers can rely on them. And I want to commend Officer Ryan Nash. I spoke to him earlier today. A good, young man, five years on the force. He was very humble about what he did, but what he did was extraordinary and gave people such faith and such appreciation in our police force.
Now, this investigation, as you’ve heard has just begun. It’s important to emphasize, again, this morning that we do not see additional credible and specific threats against New York City. We will constantly keep people posted.
But we do ask everyone to be vigilant. Commissioner O’Neill laid out what everyone has to understand. Be a part of the solution. Share what you know with the police. Don’t think twice. Give information to our officers.
And many of those previous efforts to undermine us, the Commissioner referenced, those almost two dozen previous efforts to attack New York City, a number of them were stopped because good people came forward with information in time. We need everyone to understand they can do that too.
As we move forward, we will look forward to the marathon on Sunday. It will go on as scheduled. It will be an extraordinary event as it always is. It will be well-protected as it always is. And we will take additional measures to ensure that.
But my message to all New Yorkers is, do what you do best. Be New Yorkers. Be strong. Be proud. Be resilient. Show the whole world, right now, that we will not be moved by terror.
Again, you see everyone here – every agency united in common cause. And this is also part of what makes us strong. And with that, I want to thank for his efforts and the State’s efforts, and welcome Governor Cuomo.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: Thank you, very much. Let me begin by asking us all to remember in our thoughts and prayers the eight lives that were lost tragically. That is damage that can never be undone and there are families today feeling pain that is unimaginable.
Mayor de Blasio to the NYPD, the FDNY, the State Police, I was on the scene yesterday, the performance was phenomenal and the coordination and effort was top shelf and it gives one reassurance to know that there is this level of professionalism and expertise protecting the people of this City and this State. It’s also too important to remember that while the leadership of the police departments is top shelf, Officer Nash, five years on the job, 28-years-old, he was a hero and the NYPD is not just the leadership, it’s the men and women who are out there every day, who are on the first line and I think Officer Nash really showed how important they are and how talented and how brave, so we all applaud and congratulate him.
I spoke to the Homeland Security Secretary yesterday who pledges full coordination with all the federal efforts and the FBI. I think it’s important that we are all working as one and this kind of situation there is no alternative. This is not a time to have politics. This is not a time to point fingers. This is not a time to find blame. It’s a time to come together and work for a common goal.
The effort yesterday killed eight people. But in my opinion, the effort failed because the effort was not to kill eight people. The effort was to disrupt us, to terrorize us, to scare us, to create mayhem. That’s the effort, that’s the goal on all of these attacks. New York is a special target, because we have that Statue of Liberty in our harbor that we are proud of, holding up the torch for freedom and democracy. But we have seen it all around the world, and it is to create mayhem and terrorize. And it failed. The Mayor is exactly right.
The Halloween parade last night was a beautiful example of the failure of the attempt. A million New Yorkers came out with their families, with their children. They celebrated. They were there just a number of hours after the incident, and it was New York’s way of saying, we will not be deterred. We are not terrorized. You will not win. We said that in 1993 after the World Trade Center bombing the first time. We said that after 9/11. And we said that yesterday, unprompted, spontaneously. They were all there and the Mayor and I marched, and it was really reassuring to the resilience of New Yorkers.
Now you will see increased police presence all across the metropolitan area. We are going to double the number of bodies at places of congregation, airports, tunnels. Penn Station which has 600,000 people who go through it every day. The most heavily traveled transportation hub in the hemisphere. I don’t want to draw any inference from that. We don’t know anything. We are not responding to anything. It is just as a precaution – same thing at the Marathon. The Marathon will go on because New York goes on and it is important event for all of New Yorkers.
Again, I want to end where I started. The effort by the first responders was phenomenal. The reaction by New Yorkers as evidence last night, this morning, people got up, they went to work, children went to school, and that is what makes New Yorkers special. That strength, that resilience, that ability to be undeterred in the face of ugliness and the actions of a depraved coward. Because that was what this was. This was the actions of a depraved coward. There is no grand statement to what was done. It was act of a coward. And that’s the way it should be regarded because that’s the way it was.
I was proud to be the Governor of the state of New York last night. I am proud every day but seeing New Yorkers response made me feel especially proud. And again, to the team you see assembled up here, the FBI, the NYPD, the FDNY, the seamless coordination really is something to behold and a source of strength and comfort I hope for all New Yorkers. Thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Thanks, Governor. Thanks, Mr. Mayor.
And just to reiterate what the Governor and the Mayor said, now’s not the time to live in fear. It’s not the time to be fearful. Now is the time for all New Yorkers to be strong as we always are.
Right now, Chief Carlos Gomez – he’s our Chief of Department – he’s going to talk about what we’re doing to increase security throughout the city. Carlos.
Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, NYPD: Good morning, everyone. Immediately following yesterday’s attack in Lower Manhattan, the department quickly mobilized and deployed additional resources, additional police officers, and additional heavy-weapons teams to key locations throughout the city.
Last night’s Halloween parade, which attracted over a million participants was also – security at that parade was also enhanced. We added more sand trucks. We added more blocker vehicles to the side streets that led onto 6th Avenue, and we also assigned more heavy-weapons teams not just to the parade but to the surrounding area.
New Yorkers and others who utilize our transit system will see a lot more officers. You’ll see a lot more uniforms. You’ll see more officers on the trains. They will see more officers on the platforms. They should expect more bag checks at more stations. There will be more canines, explosive detecting canines in our subway system and heavy-weapons teams from our Strategic Response Group as well as our Critical Response Command will also be deployed to major hubs and other stations throughout the city.
There are some traffic closures that remain in effect and I’d like to point out – that is the West Side Highway from 14th Street down to the tunnel. It still remains an active crime scene and we anticipate it will be closed until early this evening. So, we’ve assigned traffic agents to area but, motorists, please avoid that area.
And we’re just a few days away from the New York City Marathon which over 51,000 runners will participate. As the Commissioner said – two-and-a-half million spectators will line the streets in all the boroughs in our city. And we’ve enhanced – we’ve enhanced security for this also. It’s going to be a very safe event.
We’ve added more sand trucks, more blocker vehicles. I can’t give you the exact number. I mean I do have it, I can’t give it to you, but it will be the most ever deployed at this event. We more than doubled our observation teams – our rooftop observation posts as well as our counter-sniper teams from the Emergency Services Unit throughout the boroughs not just here in Manhattan.
And we’ve also added more heavy-weapons team throughout the city. Officers from our Emergency Services Unit, from our Strategic Response Group, and from our Critical Response Command, they’ll be at fixed locations along the route but they will also have a mobile response capability if they are needed elsewhere.
This increase will supplement the already large, substantial detail of uniformed officers that you will see along the route. But there will also be officers attired in civilian attire, in plain clothes that you won’t see. They will be mixing in with the crowds to detect any suspicious activity.
Canines – a large number of canines will be deployed along the route as well as counter-terrorism officers with their resources and equipment.
Our aviation – helicopters will patrol from above. They will survey rooftops as well as the route. And certainly, traffic control agents, they’ll have the hard task of keeping traffic moving in the affected areas.
As the Commissioner said, 8.5 million New Yorkers, several million other tourists – that’s a lot of eyes and ears in our city. If you see something, say something. Tell an officer. Call 9-1-1 or certainly you could call the New York City Terrorism Hotline 8-8-8-N-Y-C-S-A-F-E and we look for it to be a very safe and enjoyable Sunday. Thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, thanks Carlos. And now we’re going to hear from Bill Sweeney the Assistant Director in Charge of New York FBI office of Bill and his people to continue to be great partners in New York City.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Bill Sweeney: Thank you Jimmy. Good morning everybody. Our thoughts and prayers from the Bureau are with all the victims’ families especially this morning and for all of those that are still recovering.
Right now the New York JTTF which is comprised of about 50 plus agencies is following up on related leads as we work to process and analyze intelligence information related to yesterday’s attack. Like last year our partner JTTF in Newark is also fully engaged. Both of those JTTF’s both here in New York and in Newark are operating 24/7 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We also have joint terrorism task forces around the country that are following up on leads as we generate them and kick those out. The investigation is still in its early stages. I know I say this each time but it is vitally important that we do not inadvertently disclose information that could adversely impact this investigation. I think the public understands that need for operational security and for that reason I may not be able to answer specific questions on how much or what we know. I can say we’ve been conducting searches throughout the night and into this morning. I expect those searches will continue and additional searches will develop as we generate additional information. I expect evidence collection on the scene to continue to at least early this afternoon but more likely to early this evening.
We are very grateful for the patients and the resiliency of the workers and the people that reside in the Tribeca area. I’m asking the public to call us with any information that you may have. We set up a hotline to two numbers on the chart to your left - the first nationwide 1-8-0-0-C-A-L-L-F-B-I. Obviously the NYPD is up there as well. But we have a second site which is vitally important. It is a link where the public can upload their videos and their photographs that they may have obtained when they were down at the scene. That link is fbi.gov/nyctribeca that allows the public to upload those videos so we can review them for additional evidence. Thank you for you cooperation. Thanks Jimmy.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, thanks Bill. And now John Miller is going to give us an update in chronology what happened yesterday and he is also going to talk a little bit about the investigation. Again, what Bill said, I know you’re going to have a lot of questions but we have to let this investigation get more mature. It’s not even 24 hours yet. There’s going to be some things we can tell you. And there is going to be a lot of things that we can’t tell you, so John,
Deputy Commissioner John Miller, Intelligence and Counter-terrorism, NYPD: Thanks Commissioner. Just to reiterate we are in the early stages of this investigation. So the information I am going to give you today remains preliminary. Meaning some details, timelines, etc. may change as we develop more granular information. This investigation is being carried out jointly by the NYPD, FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Intelligence Bureau of the NYPD with the Counter Terrorism Bureau and hundreds of detectives from the NYPD Detective Bureau who responded to the scene and worked through the night developing evidence and following leads.
The timeline as we have it now starts at 2:06 pm at which point the suspect rents a large vehicle from a Home Deport located in Passaic, New Jersey. According to the license plate readers on the George Washington Bridge he exists the bridge into New York City southbound on the West Side Highway at 2:43 pm. At 3:04 pm a Port Authority camera on top of an air vent outside the Holland Tunnel shows the vehicle entering the bike line and traveling at a high rate of speed south bound at West Street and Houston Street.
At this point according to witnesses, video and investigation he appears to target bicycle riders and pedestrians within the southbound bike lane traveling at a high rate of speed. That ends when he collides with a school bus, injuring a number of additional people and at 3:08 pm we get more than a dozen 9-1-1 calls reporting people down, the school bus accident, and the man with a gun in the street. Two 1st Precinct police officers who were out on another call are alerted by civilians about the activity going on outside. They leave that location, they’re joined by a third officer, they observe a man who appears to be waving a gun and yelling at the scene of the accident. And they observe people down on the scene.
One of those officers Brian Nash takes action and fires his service weapon bringing the attack to an end. As the injured were being removed by fire department and EMS personnel and being triaged at the scene, a perimeter was set up around that truck and the NYPD Bomb Squad was called in to clear that vehicle for any suspicious devices. The suspect is identified as Sayfullo Saipov a 29-year-old legal permanent resident of the United States who came into the country from Uzbekistan in March of 2010. Overnight based on the investigation there have been a number of search warrant executed and there may be more.
Witnesses interviewed, associates tracked down and other activity we’ve been able to piece together a number of facts. Recovered in and around the vehicle were multiple knives. The two imitation pistols, one a paint ball gun, the other a Crossman pellet gun. As you know there are eight dead and 12 injured. We have a lot to go through. The Detective Bureau in particular using hundreds of detectives has been going up and down the West Side Highway on both sides of the street meticulously trying to pick up every piece of video from every security camera, every traffic camera, every bank camera – anything that will help us put together this timeline and have the imagery to go with it. So we can reconstruct as much of this as possible.
We’ll also be reviewing license plate reader data. Not just our own but from the surrounding area to help reconstruct the suspect’s movement over the preceding days, as well as interviews with associates. The suspect was transported to Bellevue Hospital. We are awaiting to hear an update on his condition today. Obviously he is in custody and under arrest. Based on the investigation overnight it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks. He did this in the name of ISIS and along with other items recovered at the scene was some notes that further indicate that. He appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack. At this point we will open it up for questions.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, the Mayor talked about this yesterday and it’s a big city. I know the bike path very well, I don’t think there are any [inaudible] there at Houston Street or at Chambers Street. So of course we’re going to take a look at that now. I said yesterday that we learn from every event not just in this city but across the world.
Question: Have you had a chance to talk to the suspect [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: Bill or John.
Deputy Commissioner John Miller: Suspect was interviewed at the hospital and we’re not going to be able to go into his statements in any specificity.
Question: [Inaudible] we’ve got sources telling us that authorities [inaudible] already investigated
Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going to let Commissioner Miller talk about that. John do you want to answer that first?
Deputy Commissioner John Miller: Sure. What we can say is Mr. Saipov has never been the subject of an NYPD Intelligence Bureau investigation nor has he been the subject of an FBI investigation. We know that through our work with the JTTF and Bill overnight. What we are looking for is how has he touched the subjects of other investigations, what is his connectivity to those people, and we’re kind of building out in concentric circles to try and document that. But it appears he will have some connectivity to individuals who were the subjects of investigation though he himself was not.
Mayor: I received calls yesterday from the Homeland Security Secretary and from the Homeland Security Advisor in the White House, Mr. Bossert. And both offered any and all help to New York City in this moment. And said they would be 100 percent available to us in anyway going forward. So those calls happened give or take 7:00 pm yesterday evening.
Mayor: Not from the President directly.
Governor Cuomo: I received no call from the President. I also received a call from the Homeland Security Secretary – Acting Secretary Duke and we spoke about coordination of resources, JTTF, FBI, but basically did we need any other assistance from the federal government.
Commissioner O’Neill: I actually received a phone call from the Acting Secretary also a little bit after 8:00 pm.
Question: [Inaudible] bothered that [inaudible] New York [inaudible]
Mayor: Look I’m not bothered at all because two senior officials called promptly and offered help and I think that was appropriate. I think we are – we are here to talk about this situation, the facts and no one up here wants to politicize any of this. And I don’t think anyone should be politicizing this – this tragedy at this moment in time. I think every focus should be on those whose lives were lost, on their families, on the work we have to do in this investigation.
Governor Cuomo: I am not bothered that the President didn’t call. I am bothered by an attempt by anyone to try to politicize this situation. That plays right into the hands of the terrorist. They’re trying to disrupt, they’re trying to create mayhem, they’re trying to divide. The point is to do the opposite, is to unite, normalcy, proceed as one. So to politicize this event I think is wholly counterproductive.
Question: [Inaudible] suspect from the communication [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: What are you talking, suicide by cop? No we haven’t made that determination yet. Yeah in the back.
Question: [Inaudible] terrorist investigation [inaudible] is there any sense of [inaudible] how and when [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: No it’s too early in the investigation to tell you that. Okay, Rocco.
Question: [Inaudible] is there anything out of the ordinary regarding [inaudible] there’s video showing a [inaudible]
Deputy Commissioner Miller: As far as the truck rental goes, those interviews are being conducted and I haven’t seen that but there was certainly nothing unusual enough to cause anyone to call.
Question: And regarding [inaudible]
Deputy Commissioner Miller: That’s part of the expanded canvas for witnesses; obviously we are looking for people to come forward. It’s also part of the expanded video canvas, which Bob Boyce’s people have been instrumental in – which is we really want to be able to reconstruct his entire trip. As you saw Rocco, in the Chelsea bombing, we were basically able to take him from the train to both scenes. We expect to try to come as close to that as we can here too.
Question: Just a follow up on [inaudible] question. Commissioner, if [inaudible] we know that you spoke to a lot of companies that rent trucks, was this particular company one of them?
Deputy Commissioner Miller: So our Nexus program within the Intelligence Bureau and the SHIELD program within counter-terrorism does the outreach on a fairly wide level. The Nexus program from intel has visited more than a hundred of the truck rental places within New York City. We work with the Department of Homeland Security and their programs and other agencies to cover the ones outside the city. And I can’t tell you to a level so specificity whether that program got to this location but I can tell as early as two weeks ago we were engaged with them and the New York State police doing the areas around New York City.
Question: Is there any evidence that he drive [inaudible] planned in stages that would have been consistent [inaudible] with see something, say something?
Commissioner O’Neill: As part, of course – as part of the investigation we are going to go backwards – and in his history, what he has done in the last couple months. I can’t give you an answer to that. Tina.
Question: [Inaudible] ISIS [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: Hey John, do you want to talk about the notes?
Deputy Commissioner Miller: The notes were hand-written in Arabic. They had symbols and words. But the gist of the note was that the Islamic State would endure forever.
Question: I would like to ask Mr. Kim – there is a federal death penalty for murder that is “willful, deliberate, malicious and pre-meditated.” Do you anticipate filing that rule [inaudible] after [inaudible?]
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim: Obviously at this point, since we haven’t yet filed any criminal charges, there’s not much I can say about potential charges. I can say that from the moment of the attack, we had federal terrorism prosecutors working with the NYPD, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and coordinating with District Attorney Cy Vance’s office to assist in the investigation – get the search warrants, get legal process filed and to gather the evidence and assist in the investigation for the purpose of ultimately determining whether there are federal terrorism charges to be made. So at this point I’m not got to speculate as what charges might ultimately be brought and what the sentences might be.
Question: A follow up to John Miller, the fact that the note was written in Arabic, how significant is that? And does speak at all to the level of radicalization of Mr. Saipov?
Deputy Commissioner Miller: I don’t know.
Commissioner O’Neill: Juliette?
Question: Yeah, as you stated earlier that he had been planning them for weeks [inaudible] it will take years [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: John you want to talk about that? Or Bill?
Deputy CommissionerMiller: We are going to reconstruct that literally day by day going backwards but at this point, I’m not going to get into that in any detail.
Question: Can you say whether it was online or [inaudible]
Deputy Commissioner Miller: Everything you said is a part of the investigation now. And we are peeling back through – obviously there is a process here. What were his communications? Who were they with? What was the content? What’s relevant to this?
Commissioner O’Neill: Colleen?
Question: [inaudible] can you talk a little about his time in the US [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: So we’re about 20 hours in now, so we are going to speak to everybody involved. We are going to speak to relatives, we are going to speak acquaintances, people that he’s worked with but I don’t have that right now. James?
Question: Commissioner [inaudible] your conversation [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: Okay. So in typical fashion of an NYPD cop, he thinks what he did was not an act of heroism. He thinks it’s something, why he joined the police department. I had the opportunity to talk to Ryan last night. He was at the hospital and I don’t think we could find a more humble human being.
They were at Stuyvesant High School for an unrelated call and somebody came in and told them there was a vehicle accident at West Street and Chambers Street. So Ryan and his partner thought they were going out to handle a vehicle accident. And once they got outside they were confronted and they took proper action, so all New Yorkers should be thankful to Ryan and his partner, they showed great courage.
And I talk about the courage of the men and women in this police department every day. And it truly yesterday you saw it. And here’s a cop with five years on the job, 28 years old and this is what he did for the city and this is what he did for the country. So I’m really proud of him.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Let me just add real quick – the, the – Ryan is a hero but he was so humble about his achievement. It was very striking, I think Commissioner is right. He thought this all was all in a day’s work and what a cop does to protect other people. But he deserves the accolades of the people of this city as do his partners.
To your question, what was the potential there had he not stepped in. As you know after the fact we found out more but in that situation you don’t know if the shooter has multiple weapons, has a bomb on him, you don’t know. And God forbid that situation was even more dangerous. How many more lives – literally dozens more lives could have been in danger. Ryan stopped that threat immediately. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Question: Commissioner, [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: Well I have to talk to him again – see what he wants to do. You know, he’s a humble guy. Maybe he’ll give you the opportunity but I’m going to leave that up to him. And Jay.
Question: Commissioner, in light of the situation yesterday, the security situation in the city going forward – are you considering closing Times Square to vehicle traffic [inaudible]
Question: Commissioner, in light of the situation that’s been a security situation in the City going forward, are you considering closing Time Square to vehicular traffic to [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: That’s too – it’s premature to say that. If you go up to Time Square you see the presence we have there now, so, in the back row.
Question: [Inaudible] Have you spoken to the consulates of Argentina, Germany, or [Inaudible]
Mayor: We have not yet. Obviously our condolences to the people, as Argentina and Belgium I believe, our condolences to those nations, to the people of those nations, to the families especially, and we will do everything we can to support the families in this moment. I think, you know, everyone feels, we are all connected, we all have to be there for each other.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, in the second row.
Question: Can you go into detail about what the suspect said in the hospital, there are reports that he is bragging [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: I’m not going to confirm that, Tony?
Question: From Commissioner [inaudible] you may have alluded to this earlier but [inaudible] was there any indication that he did fire reconnaissance [inaudible]
Commissioner Miller: Yes, we are not going to get into the details of the what, or where, but he seems to have followed the regiment prescribed.
Commissioner O’Neill: All the way over on the left?
Question: [Inaudible] Question for the Governor and the Mayor, two questions actually. What do you think of Trump’s remarks about stepping up extreme vetting, what implications these have for immigration policies here. And secondly, to what extent do you think the gun control rules of New York and, to be honest not so sure about New Jersey, but this guy, like, 20 different weapons. They were not assault rifles [inaudible].
Mayor: Look, again I think today is about a focus on this incident and all we have to do to respond to it, but I can say simply, we support vetting of individuals. We support very thorough vetting. Not of groups of people just because they belong to a group. We – I think this is a very crucial distinction. There should be very, very careful vetting of anyone where there is an indication of a concern, but not because of their religion, or not because of their country of origin. There is a much bigger conversation we have about gun safety. The NYPD has always rigorously believed that we need to keep guns out of this City and that gun safety laws are here to protect us and to protect our officers, but there will be plenty of time to discuss these issues going forward. I want to affirm the Governors point; this should be a unity moment where the focus is on solving the crime and figuring out how we can move forward together, not the pointing of fingers.
Governor Cuomo: I – The President’s tweets, the President’s tweets I think were not helpful. I don’t think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation. He was referring back to an immigration policy that dealt with a lottery and blaming people who passed that immigration policy. His tweet wasn’t even accurate as far as I’m concerned. That was a bi-partisan law that was passed that had basically no relevance to the facts of this situation. As I said before, you play into the hands of the terrorist to the extent you disrupt and divide and frighten people in this society. And the tone now should be the exact opposite by all officials on all levels. This is about unification. This is about solidarity. This is about normalization. This is about protection. And the last thing this it’s about is politics, period. As far as the gun laws, I am increasingly proud that New York State passed some of the smartest gun laws in the country, the SAFE Act. I think its madness the number of assault weapons we have in this country. I think it endangers law enforcement. I think it costs us untold numbers of deaths and I hope one day that we will have a federal policy that will actually bring sanity to the gun policy laws in this country.
Unknown: We will take two more questions, please.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yup on the left.
Question: Is there any [inaudible] mosque [inaudible] area [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: John.
Deputy Commissioner Miller: We’re going to go back through all of his contacts and habits, but I think this is an important time to say this isn’t about Islam, it’s not about what mosque he attends, there are hundreds of thousands law-abiding Muslims in New York City who are adversely affected by things like this. And it’s probably a good time to say, we have seen in the aftermath of incidents like this, bias incidents, hate crimes, assaults, and, Bob Boyce and his hate crimes people will respond to those, investigate those, and anybody behind those will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As has been said here before, it is a time to come together and to not confuse this terrorist act with any broad brush against and a religion or a particular institution.
Unknown: Last couple here [inaudible]
Question: It’s been reported that the police and the FBI [inaudible] the wife and children. The wife in custody is she cooperating? [Inaudible] the children [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: John?
Deputy Commissioner Miller: We are doing interview with family members, friends, associates, we are not going to be able to get into what they are saying or not saying or who is cooperating or otherwise at this point, it’s just too early.
Unknown: Thank you all, thanks.