NEW YORK — The 28-year-old NYPD officer whose quick-thinking actions took down the suspect moments after a deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan, spoke out for the first time during a news conference on Wednesday.
“I appreciate the public recognition of the actions of myself and my fellow officers yesterday,” said Officer Ryan Nash, a five-year veteran of the department. “Although I feel that we were just doing our job, like thousands of officers do every day, I understand the importance of yesterday’s events and the role we played, and I am grateful for the recognition we have received.”
“I just want to thank my family and friends for their support, and all of the responding officers who assisted me,” he added.
The attack took place along a scenic bike path near the West Side Highway on Tuesday. A man with alleged ties to ISIS — who was later identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan who lived in Florida and New Jersey — mowed down pedestrians using a rental truck.
At least eight people were killed and 12 others injured in the attack.
The truck came to a stop when it crashed into a school bus carrying children. Witnesses say Saipov jumped out of the vehicle, brandishing a pellet gun and a paintball gun, and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic.
Nash, one of the first officers upon the scene, shot Saipov once in the abdomen. Saipov was taken into custody and rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
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Nash, 28, was transported to Bellevue for treatment of ringing in his ears. He was otherwise unhurt.
“He is a hero, there is no doubt,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said of the officer on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday.
“The NYPD did a great job. Fire — FDNY did a great job,” said Cuomo, who also praised federal investigators’ response. “We have first responders who are heroes. And that’s what you saw yesterday.
Police sources told CBS New York that Nash, a native of Medford, Long Island, joined the department in July 2012 and is a very active cop with more than 50 arrests to his record.
On Wednesday, authorities charged Saipov on several federal counts including material support of a terrorist organization (ISIS), and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for the safety of human life that resulted in multiple deaths.
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