By Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
This past Tuesday, October 31, the world recieved heartbreaking news that eight people were killed and almost a dozen injured after a truck drove down a bicycle path in New York City.
The incident took place very close to the World Trade Center, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it an act of terror. De Blasio said in an CNN report thatit was a “…particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them.”
The suspect was identified by two law enforcement sources as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who is from Uzbekistan, but had been living in the United States since 2010. He was shot in the abdomen by police and taken into custody after jumping out of the truck with, as was later discovered, a pellet gun and paintball gun.
According to various reports, authorities found a note claiming the attack was made in the name of ISIS near the truck used in the attack.
President Donald Trump, a native of New York City, responded on his Twitter account, and called the suspect, “a very sick and deranged person.” He also said, “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere.”
“My dad called me while he was counting cop cars and counted 48 that he could see from his window,” said Caitlin Whitaker ’18. “He works near ground zero so it’s a very sensitive area of New York to begin with for so many people and my family included.”
“I feel terrible about what happened yesterday,” said Daniel Munoz ’19, also a New York native. “From reading the newspaper some of the people who died came here for a reunion of some kind and it just saddens me that people came to New York to have a good time and see old friends, and then have their lives just taken away like that for literally no reason.”
Five out of the eight who died were from Argentina, and according to multiple reports were in New York City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their graduation from high school.
Jenna Shanley ’18, who is from New York City shared her thoughts of the incident. “I was really upset and very disheartened when I heard the news yesterday,” she said. “I started to get really worried about my mom’s whereabouts because she works in Manhattan and passes downtown on her commute, but luckily she was okay.”
She explained she felt multiple emotions, especially upon realizing it was 16 years and 20 days to the date of 9/11. “I just didn’t understand why something like this happened, and I just plan to keep the families of those lost and injured in my prayers,” said Shanley.
Shanley, like many students who attend Providence College, was directly affected by the events that took place on September 11, 2001 as her father was a first responder to the attack. He is now retired, but Shanley shared he won officer of the year in 2003 and is very proud to be his daughter. “I am happy at this point he is retired, because the world is getting scarier and I am more at ease that he is not out there,” she said. “That could’ve been him responding to what happened yesterday.”
Extra security measures are being implemented throughout the city, and law enforcement is still investigating aspects of the event. “We know that this action was intended to break our spirit, but we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient,” de Blasio said in an article written by the New York Post. “Our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us.”
Students interviewed held a similar view to de Blasio, and emphasized that New York is strong.
“New York is special insofar that it’s a living, breathing entity that you can make your own. Every person experiences a different New York, and when meeting new people it’s always fun sharing stories of the New York that you’ve experienced,” said Munoz. “It makes you take into perspective what other people see and go through, that is almost always different from your own.”
“It’s hard not being home sometimes because I always get worried that something can happen, it’s New York,” said Shanley. She explained New York is so special because it is tough. “People who live in New York see a lot of things, and New York doesn’t let you live in a bubble. I think growing up in New York made me resilient, and I am grateful for that.”
“Weirdly enough I don’t feel scared to go home or go into the city,” said Whitaker. “The city has been through and overcome so much that I know we will be able to move past this and be okay again.”