On Tuesday, New York City experienced its deadliest terror attack since September 11, 2001, when a man drove a truck down a bike lane in lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring 15. Despite the chaos and fear that such brazen crimes create, such tragedies often result in countless tales of selflessness and bravery, and this one is no different. In addition to the heroic police officer who singlehandedly took down the suspect and brought an end to the melee, ordinary New Yorkers also came to the aid of those in need.
On Wednesday, NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie interviewed a man named Anthony who was waiting to pick up his son at a nearby elementary school, when he came face to face with the suspect, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbekistan native who moved to the United States in 2010.
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“I heard a big smash,” Anthony said as he explained that he was sitting in his car outside his child’s school and watched as the rogue truck careened into an idling school bus. Not realizing that Saipov had just intentionally mowed down innocent civilians, the concerned father initially “looked back… to see if the guy was okay.”
“I thought it was an accident,” he told Guthrie.
But he quickly realized something much more serious was going on when he saw the man waving what appeared to be guns, and jumped into action to ensure that—with so many schools nearby—no children found themselves in harm’s way.
“[Saipov] had his hands up in the air, and I saw guns in his hands, waving them,” Anthony recalled. “At that point I literally just went and started grabbing kids saying, ‘Get back in the school… there’s a shooter.’”
The interview turned emotional when he discussed fearing for the life of his own child amidst the madness.
“I was just pushing kids back in the school, looking for my son to make sure he’s not out,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I didn’t see him, but I just pushed the kids back in and then ran up the block to get the police that were at Stuyvesant [High School] to point them down in the right direction.”