The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department are treating an attack by a suspect using a rental truck in New York City’s lower Manhattan — in which eight people were fatally wounded and 15 were injured — as terrorism. The attack occurred at a bicycle path at about 3:05 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Halloween
Witnesses told police that the suspect reportedly yelled “Allahu Akhbar,” God is great in Arabic. The suspected jihadist also struck a school bus during his attack. The suspect was identified as named Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old male from Tampa.
The attacker drove a rented truck down a bike path in Manhattan a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center memorial.
According to witnesses, people on bikes were left scattered on the path and the attacker then rammed a school bus.
Police Response to the Crime
In the aftermath of the Halloween terrorist attack, one of the most important aspects of securing the crime scene is to preserve the scene with minimal contamination and disturbance of physical evidence.
Upon arrival, the officer(s) shall assess the scene and treat the incident as a crime scene. They will promptly, yet cautiously, approach and enter crime scenes, remaining observant of any persons, vehicles, events, potential evidence, and environmental conditions.
The initial responding police officer(s) or FBI agent(s) will usually:
- Note or log dispatch information (e.g., address/location, time, date, type of call, parties involved).
- Be aware of any persons or vehicles leaving the crime scene.
- Approach the scene cautiously, scan the entire area to thoroughly assess the scene, and note any possible secondary crime scenes. Be aware of any persons and vehicles in the vicinity that may be related to the crime.
- Make initial observations (look, listen, smell) to assess the scene and ensure officer safety before proceeding.
- Remain alert and attentive. Assume the crime is ongoing until determined to be otherwise.
- Treat the location as a crime scene until assessed and determined to be otherwise.
The safety and physical well-being of officers and other individuals, in and around the crime scene, are the initial responding officer(s’) first priority. Policy: The initial responding officer(s) arriving at the scene shall identify and control any dangerous situations or persons.
The first responding officer(s) should ensure that there is no immediate threat to other responders — scan area for sights, sounds, and smells that may present danger to personnel (e.g., hazardous materials such as gasoline, natural gas).
If the situation involves biological weapons , or radiological or chemical threats the appropriate personnel/agency should be contacted prior to entering the scene. Approach the scene in a manner designed to reduce risk of harm to the officer(s) and other first-responders, while maximizing the safety of victims, witnesses, and others in the area.
Survey the scene for dangerous persons and control the situation. Notify supervisory personnel and call for assistance/backup.
Summary: The control of physical threats will ensure the safety of officers and others present. Controlling, identifying, and removing persons at the crime scene and limiting the number of persons who enter the crime scene and the movement of such persons is an important function of the initial responding officer(s) in protecting the crime scene.
The initial responding officer(s) should:
- Control all individuals at the scene—prevent individuals from altering/destroying physical evidence by restricting movement, location, and activity while ensuring and maintaining safety at the scene.
- Identify all individuals at the scene, such as: • Suspects: Secure and separate. • Witnesses: Secure and separate. • Bystanders: Determine whether witness, if so treat as above, if not, remove from the scene. • Victims/family/friends: Control while showing compassion. • Medical and other assisting personnel.
- Exclude unauthorized and nonessential personnel from the scene (e.g., law enforcement officials not working the case, politicians, media).