New York City terror suspect received speeding ticket in Arizona
PHOENIX — The man accused of driving down a New York City bike path and killing eight people received a speeding ticket in Arizona, the head of the state Department of Public Safety said Friday.
“One of my troopers – one of my commercial interdiction officers – actually had stopped this subject back in 2014,” Col. Frank Milstead said, adding that he was stopped on Interstate 17 south of Flagstaff.
Sayfullo Saipov, who would have then been 25 or 26, was stopped for speeding and cited. But what he was carrying could throw a new twist into the investigation.
“At the time, he was in possession of a Pennsylvania driver’s license,” Milstead said.
Prior to Friday, law enforcement had not revealed Saipov had a tie to Pennsylvania, aside from him being stopped in the state by police at least twice. Both times he was stopped, he gave a residence in Paterson, New Jersey as his home.
To obtain a driver’s license in Pennsylvania, the person must prove residency in the state. It was unknown where Saipov lived in Pennsylvania.
Prior to Milstead’s update, law enforcement had said Saipov had lived in Ohio, Florida and New Jersey.
It was unknown what Saipov was doing in Arizona, though he drove trucks for a living.
“He was here in Arizona for some reason,” Milstead said. “We’ll work with the FBI to continue to look into that. Why was he here? What was he doing?”
Milstead said Saipov’s Arizona ticket was uncovered by detectives assigned to the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force to look into terror suspects’ possible ties in other states.
Officials filed terror charges against Saipov earlier this week. He could receive the death penalty.
Saipov allegedly told investigators he decided to carry out the attack in response to the Islamic State terror group’s online calls to action.
Saipov left a handwritten note referring to ISIS at the scene and was thought to have become radicalized in the United States.
Authorities said Saipov watched ISIS videos on his cellphone and picked Halloween for the attack on a bike lane in lower Manhattan because he knew more people would be out on the streets.
Afterward, as he lay wounded in the hospital, he asked to display the ISIS flag in his room and “stated that he felt good about what he had done,” prosecutors said in court papers.
John Miller, deputy New York police commissioner for intelligence, said Saipov “appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out.”
KTAR News’ Martha Maurer and Carter Nacke and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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