It’s been less than two hours since police identified the suspect in today’s Halloween terror attack in NYC as 29-year-old Uzbek national Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, and already the New York Post has published an interview with a friend of the suspected terrorist who reportedly expressed complete shock when told his friend had killed 8 people and injured more than a dozen others in what some sources described as the deadliest terror attack in NYC since 9/11.
Kobiljon Matkarov, 37, and a fellow Uzbek native, described Saipov as a “very friendly” man who worked for Uber. Matkarov met Saipov in Florida about five years ago shortly after he came over from Uzbekistan. The two connected over their mutual heritage, with Matkarov adding that Saipov had no terrorist connections.
“He is very good guy, he is very friendly… he is like little brother… he look at me like big brother,” Matkarov said by phone Tuesday from his home in Miamisburg, Ohio.
Saipov was identified as a resident of Tampa, Florida, by police but according to Matkarov had been living in New Jersey where he drove for Uber as recently as this summer. Matkarov said he last saw Saipov in June when he asked him to a ride to JFK, where the family was catching a flight to Uzbekistan.
“He dropped me to the airport with my family… I called him and said I needed a ride.”
Matkarov said Saipov got along well with Matkarov’s five kids, who enjoyed playing with Saipov.
“My kids like him too, he is always playing with them. He is playing all the time,” Matkarov remembered.
But when Matkarov’s son asked for a picture with Saipov, he refused.
“He no like that. He said no,” Matkarov said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saipov acted alone when he carried out today’s attack and that there were no signs of an international plot. However, the New York Times has reported that allegiance notes to ISIS written in Arabic were found at the scene.
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