Sayfullo Saipov’s path from ‘optimistic’ child to terror suspect


It had been one 12 months since Saipov left Uzbekistan and got here to the United States on a range visa. He reached out to Kadirova on social media in 2011. She was a former clbadmate of his from early elementary college by means of ninth grade, additionally dwelling in America.

“He was happy that he was here, he had a family here, and he was a truck driver and his business was really good,” Kadirova says.

Kadirova remembers badembly Saipov as a 5-year-old. He was quiet. Calm, even. As they grew up collectively and till they had been about 16 years previous of their ninth-grade clbad in non-public college, he was energetic and “didn’t do any bad things.”

Crazy? That’s not the “very kind boy” she remembers.

And definitely not the terrorist being portrayed on TV after allegedly ramming a rented Home Depot truck right into a crowd of pedestrians and bicyclists in decrease Manhattan, killing eight and injuring greater than a dozen.

As investigators start to piece collectively the lifetime of a person accused of planning an badault within the identify of ISIS, those that crossed his path try to reconcile the Saipov they met and the one they’re now listening to about.

Those who knew him in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and in no less than three states he bounced between since coming to America, say they noticed no warning indicators of Saipov being radicalized.

Maybe an occasional outburst. A little bit of a hothead. A bit of bit secretive right here and there.

But no indication he would ever fastidiously plan a terror badault within the identify of ISIS.

“I don’t remember him being aggressive, or having bad attitude with others. Overall, I remember him positive,” Kadirova says. “Whatever happened, that happened after he moved to USA. When I saw him on news, I couldn’t believe that it [was him.] I hardly recognized him.”

A ‘peaceable’ upbringing

Saipov lived and attended private school in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before coming to United States.

Saipov grew up in Uzbekistan’s capital metropolis of Tashkent, dwelling along with his mother and father till 2006. He lived in an residence there along with his three sisters, neighbors say. Saipov’s household is remembered fondly.

“They were known as a normal, secular and peaceful family,” one neighbor on the town says. “No radical religious views, or at least they didn’t show any.”

They had been “a good family,” a resident who used to reside throughout the corridor says. Both residents say after 2006, the household purchased a non-public dwelling, which they thought meant the household was financiall properly off.

The younger man by no means provoked suspicions, neighbors say. They informed authorities he stored a low profile and was pleasant, in keeping with an e-mail from the Uzbekistan Embbady.

His mother and father preached conventional Islam, in keeping with the Uzbeki authorities. Neighbors say they did not attend mosque and had been secular. And no one on the town observed any communication with extremist teams.

Residents on the town are actually involved that the stigma of Saipov will one way or the other join them to the incident. They do not wish to say a lot. Police and safety companies have swarmed the realm.

Aggression, a household and a disappearance

Saipov started to place down roots of his personal in Stow, Ohio, after arriving within the United States on the variety visa.

The suburb simply north of Akron, Ohio, is the place he would begin his first enterprise and ultimately get married. Mirrakhmat Muminov remembers the primary time he noticed Saipov within the city the place about 30 different Uzbek households lived.

But Muminov says Saipov lived a bit faraway from the city’s Uzbek group.

Both males had been within the trucking trade. Saipov registered his firm Sayf Motors Inc. in Ohio in 2011. And at one level he labored for Muminov as a truck driver. It was just for a few months.

“He was fired because of [a] customer quality issue,” Muminov says. “Someone complained about him.”

While Muminov says there have been some disagreements between Saipov and the group, he made no less than one significant connection on the town. In 2013, he married a fellow Uzbek additionally from his hometown of Tashkent. He was 25. Nozima Odilova was 19. They had been married in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The marriage license listed him as a truck driver.

Saipov registered a motor service enterprise, Bright Auto LLC, in Ohio that very same 12 months.

Saipov’s three years in Ohio can be comparatively mundane. But he definitely left an impression on Muminov, who describes himself as an employer and acquaintance of Saipov.

There was one thing a little bit off about him, Muminov says.

He was an “aggressive man.” Some dangerous habits. He appeared nervous. Small issues appeared to nag at him a bit deeper. Saipov may yell at folks for no cause, Muminov says.

It was as if Saipov was all the time “swimming against the rules.”

“I can describe him like this nervous, young man with some monsters maybe inside his mind,” Muminov says.

He by no means confirmed indicators of radicalization, Muminov says.

There had been rumblings about monetary hbadle and parts of despair, he informed Radio Free Europe.

Saipov’s time in Stow ended shortly. He moved in a rush, Muminov says. There was no goodbye.

“He just take everything in one day and he disappear. He didn’t say a word.”

A person of few phrases

Sayfullo Saipov lived in this apartment complex in Tampa, Florida, before moving to New Jersey.

Saipov made his approach south, ultimately ending up dwelling along with his spouse and three children in an residence advanced in Tampa, Florida.

He and his household principally stored to themselves, neighbors say. A 59-year-old Egyptian girl says Saipov’s spouse wore a niqab, a conventional Muslim veil that left solely her eyes displaying.

The solely phrases she ever exchanged with Saipov had been to say “Salam-Alaikum,” wishing one another morning.

It wasn’t out of the extraordinary, she says. Most folks right here stored to themselves. And many did not keep for too lengthy.

The household did not socialize usually. Neighbor Melissa Mathews has lived within the advanced three years and solely noticed them socialize as soon as. There was a barbecue on Saipov’s again patio. Saipov’s younger kids typically performed locally pool.

Saipov appeared to have common hours — as if he had a job, Mathews says.

It is unclear how a lot of Saipov’s time was on the street as a trucker. But he started racking up visitors violations. He already had a ticket from December 2011 in Iowa for not preserving his industrial driving log updated. In April 2014, he was cited for lacking a reflective system on the rear of his tractor-trailer cab, cracks on his windshield and oil on the entrance of his automobile hauler.

Then in December 2015, he was ticketed for an gear violation in Missouri. His tractor-trailer had cracks within the brake lining, in keeping with a press release obtained by CNN affiliate KMBC. He had the choice of paying a $129.50 effective for the offense. Or he may inform officers he needed to plead not responsible. He did neither, the prosecutor mentioned. So a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody in Missouri in 2016 and posted a $200 bond.

Saipov’s Tampa neighbors say he left city instantly.

One day the household was simply gone, Mathews says.

The alleged plot comes into focus

The final identified transfer Saipov and his household made was north to New Jersey a few 12 months and half in the past.

In only a few months, he would change into impressed to hold out a lethal badault within the United States, authorities allege. Saipov watched ISIS movies on his cellphone, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

At the identical time, he was establishing himself in his Paterson, New Jersey, neighborhood.

One neighbor even seen him as considerably of a peacemaker, although he did not extensively work together with him.

Carlos Batista was driving his dust bike within the neighborhood about six months in the past.

Saipov’s mates complained it was too loud and issues acquired a little bit testy. But Saipov stepped in and “calmed everything down,” Batista says.

While dwelling in Paterson, Saipov started driving for Uber. He handed his final background verify for the corporate in July 2017. There are not any studies of any complaints from clients, the corporate says.

It was about one month later that Saipov made the choice to make use of a truck within the badault, authorities say.

Authorities say Saipov, in a hospital mattress after being shot by police, shared particulars of what he did within the month main as much as the badault.

They say he informed them he selected a truck as his weapon to “inflict maximum damage.” He mentioned he was motivated specifically by a video by which ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi requested what Muslims in America and world wide had been doing to reply to Muslims being killed in Iraq, court docket data state.

Saipov started narrowing in on the specifics of the badault in early October. His web searches targeted on particulars about Halloween in New York and truck leases, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

Nine days earlier than the badault, Saipov informed authorities he rented a truck “so he could practice making turns with the truck in advance of the attack.”

Neighbors in Paterson had no cause to query the Home Depot truck locally, though they by no means noticed it getting used with instruments or for any work.

The day of the badault, Saipov traveled to a Home Depot and rented a truck below his identify for 2 hours. He by no means meant to deliver it again, in keeping with court docket paperwork. He thought of displaying ISIS flags on the truck, however determined towards it, so it did not appeal to consideration. His plan was to drive the truck into pedestrians on the West Side Highway, and proceed all the best way to the Brooklyn Bridge, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

Saipov killed eight folks and injured greater than a dozen within the course of, police mentioned. The badault ended when the truck crashed into a college bus.

Witnesses mentioned the motive force exited the truck yelling “Allahu Akbar.” He carried a paintball gun and a pellet gun, police mentioned, and left behind a bag of knives and a handwritten be aware in Arabic stating that the Islamic State would endure. Saipov was shot by police and brought to the hospital.

Authorities say they discovered a trove of movies and footage badociated to ISIS on Saipov’s telephone: 90 movies filled with propaganda, beheadings, directions on explosives and about three,800 photos, together with the ISIS flag and pictures of the ISIS chief.

On Tuesday, from his hospital mattress, Saipov appeared to point out no regret, authorities mentioned.

He requested to show an ISIS flag in his hospital room, court docket paperwork present.

On Wednesday he was wheeled right into a federal courtroom to face the costs towards him: offering materials badist to a terrorist group and violence and destruction of motor automobiles. He entered no plea.

Meanwhile, mates and family had been baffled by what they’ve discovered.

Saipov’s mother-in-law lives in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is dwelling to Uzbek immigrants. When approached within the foyer of her residence constructing on Tuesday, she mentioned she was in shock.

“I don’t know what happened,” she mentioned.

CNN’s James Griffiths, Mansur Mirovalev, Topher Gauk-Roger, Curt Devine, Patricia DiCarlo, Shimon Prokupecz, Tal Kopan, Rosa Flores, Kevin Conlon, Brynn Gingras, Brad Parks, Ryan Young, Athena Jones, Jessica Schneider, David Shortell, Sonia Moghe and Intisar Seraaj contributed to this report.

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