Suspect 'liked US, did not seem like a terrorist'

NEW YORK • Lower Manhattan terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov's arrival in the United States in 2010 began unceremoniously in Ohio.

"My dad introduced him as 'He's new to the United States, and he's going to stay with us'," said 22-year-old Bekhzod Abdusamatov.

He added that Saipov, born in February 1988, arrived from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, knowing little English.

Saipov spent those early days in the US looking for a job and trying to improve his English, Mr Abdusamatov said. But he was also a late sleeper.

At one point, Saipov made his way to Fort Myers, Florida, where he met fellow Uzbek immigrant Kobiljon Matkarov, 37. Saipov was working as a truck driver at the time.

"He was a very good person when I knew him," Mr Matkarov said. "He liked the US. He seemed very lucky, and all the time he was happy and talking like everything was okay. He did not seem like a terrorist, but I did not know him on the inside."

After a move to New Jersey, Saipov eventually settled in Paterson and began driving for Uber.

Sayfullo Saipov went to the US in 2010, from Uzbekistan. And he had earned a green card, said a law enforcement official.
Sayfullo Saipov went to the US in 2010, from Uzbekistan. And he had earned a green card, said a law enforcement official.

He had a history of traffic violations, according to media reports and court records.

On Tuesday night, law enforcement officials converged on an apartment building, near Genessee and Getty avenues, that was believed to be Saipov's home.

Saipov had earned a green card, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was proceeding, and had entered the country through Kennedy International Airport.

An Uber official said he had passed the firm's background check.

"We will remain in close contact with law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist with their investigation."

The official added that "we are aggressively and quickly reviewing this partner's history with Uber, and at this time we have not identified any" reports related to safety concerns.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Suspect 'liked US, did not seem like a terrorist''. Print Edition | Subscribe