A police officer stands guard near the site of an attack in lower Manhattan in NewYork, the United States, on Oct. 31, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
by Xinhua writers Wang Wen, Huang Hexun
NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- When New Yorkers dressed up for Halloween parade in lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, nobody knew a real "horror story" was happening just blocks away.
In what authorities called a terrorist attack, a 29-year-old man driving a rented pickup truck plowed along a bike path near World Trade Center for more than one mile, leaving eight people dead, and a dozen more injured.
Reports said the man shouted "Allahu Akbar," which means "God is great" in Arabic, when he exited the truck after colliding with a school bus. He was shot by a uniformed police officer and was taken into custody later.
"It's scary to think that it (terror attack) happened so close to where you go to school every day. I'm down there all the time, walking around and hanging out," said Gregory Rico, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) which is close to the site.
Rico was having a class when the attack happened. He said everybody was getting phone calls and texts from families and friends before he and his classmates knew exactly what was going on.
"I can't even imagine what they (people who saw the attack and those hurt in the incident) were thinking at the time," said Rico.
On Wednesday, police blocked streets near the crime scene as investigation continued, including the one leading to BMCC's main entrance. Students were advised to enter the main campus through Harrison Street or through the Washington Market Park entrance.
Lucas Musse, another BMCC student, said he did not feel safe walking around any more since the supposedly unusual terror attacks are "becoming usual" occurrences.
The incident is the deadliest terror attack that has hit the city with a population of over 8.5 million since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
The corner of Chambers and Greenwich streets was the closest place public and media could get to the scene. On Wednesday, the corner saw more passers-by on the day than usual, as people took pictures and videos of the scene, and asked police officers questions.
The deadly attack seemed not to have daunted New Yorkers. Life goes on as usual for them just one day after the attack.
"What happened was very sad and unfortunate, but I don't think this will restrict us from living our lives and going forward," said Beverly Robertson, who has lived in the Wall Street area for about 35 years.
"It's been 16 years since something really major has happened. It's a pretty good track record for New York," said Robertson, who said twice that she feels safe living in the city.
Like Robertson, residents in lower Manhattan were sticking to their daily routines. Terry Denson was among those who walked their dogs in the morning.
"This is where we live and I'm not going to move. I'm still going to go to grocery stores, walk my dog and pick up life as normal," said Denson.
However, for those who have lost their families or friends, life will never be the same again.
Of the eight killed, five were from Argentina, one from Germany and the remaining two U.S. nationals, said Daniel A. Nigro, commissioner of New York City Fire Department, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Of those injured, three have been released from the hospital, and four were critically injured, but in stable condition, Nigro said, adding that the others were seriously injured.
Bouquets were placed on the ground in front of Consulate General of Argentina in New York in memory of the deceased.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors filed terrorism charges against the suspect, identified as Sayfullo Saipov.
Saipov faces two charges, namely, providing material support for a terrorist organization, specifically the Islamic State group, and a federal charge of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for human life.
If convicted, he could face life imprisonment or death penalty.