Prosecutors Allege Attack Was Planned For Months

Nov 2, 2017
Originally published on November 2, 2017 12:08 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

New details are emerging this morning about the suspect in the attack in New York City that left eight people dead Tuesday. Authorities say he was inspired by the Islamic State and had been planning this attack for months. He was officially charged yesterday, and President Trump weighed in to say the suspect should get the death penalty. For the latest on the investigation, we're joined now by NPR's Hansi Lo Wang, who is in New York.

Hansi, what else can you tell us about the suspect?

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Well, prosecutors say he started planning an attack against the U.S. about a year ago. And he decided to use a truck about two months ago and actually allegedly rented a truck before Tuesday's attack to practice making turns. And his final destination on Tuesday was supposed to be the Brooklyn Bridge.

Prosecutors say he wanted to kill as many people as possible. And these were all details he told law enforcement from his hospital room, where he allegedly asked to display the ISIS flag and told investigators that he felt good about what he had done.

MARTIN: Practice making turns - so he - because he drove this truck onto a bike path - it was this heavily populated area. So he had actually premeditatedly gone out and tried to rehearse this horrific act.

WANG: Right.

MARTIN: What punishment do the charges that have now been applied to him - what charge - what punishment do they carry?

WANG: Well, he could face the death penalty for violence and destruction of a motor vehicle, and he can also face life in prison for providing material support to a foreign terrorist group. Those are the charges against him.

MARTIN: Law enforcement also says it has located a second person who they want to question in connection with this. What do we know about that person?

WANG: Well, this is a 32-year-old man born in Uzbekistan. And all we know that - is the FBI released a poster yesterday showing his name, his photo. We don't know much else, but it is important to point out that so far, he has not been identified as a suspect in this case. And police and investigators have been questioning a lot of relatives and close connections to the suspect to figure out exactly how he ended up on this path to radicalization and planning this attack.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Hansi Lo Wang covering the latest on the investigation and the developments there - thanks so much for you time this morning.

WANG: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.