Cardinal Timothy Dolan said New York City is “stunned and horrified” by what police said was an act of terror on a Manhattan bicycle trail, in which at least eight people were killed and several more injured.
“While details continue to emerge, one thing is clear,” the New York archbishop continued in a statement, “once again, no matter our religion, racial or ethnic background, or political beliefs, we must put our differences aside and come together in faith and love to support those who are injured, pray for those who have died as well as their families and loved ones and work towards greater respect and understanding among all people so that heinous and evil acts like this become a thing of the past.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a separate statement that the “horrendous act weighs on all of our hearts.”
We must put our differences aside to support those who are injured, pray for those who have died as well as their families and loved ones and work towards greater respect and understanding among all people.
“To the family and friends of those who have died, please know that you are not alone, and that the prayers of the Bishops and of all the Church are with you and your loved ones,” he continued. “To you and to everyone, I would like to say that the forces of darkness always try to wipe away our hope; but our hope is in the name of the Lord and will always remain firm.”
“Let us remember the words of the Lord to prophet Joshua: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go,” he said.
By Wednesday morning, two more American cardinals had also offered prayers for victims of the attack:
To all victims of the New York City attack and their families, please know that you are in our prayers. May God be with you. #prayforNYC— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) November 1, 2017
We continue to pray for all of the victims of the New York City attack and their families. #prayforNYC— Cardinal Wuerl (@Cardinal_Wuerl) November 1, 2017
For his part, New York City’s mayor called the attack “cowardly” act of terror. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center “was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack, and he said there’s no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.
A law enforcement official said that witnesses told police that the man who drove a rented truck onto a bike path in New York City, killing eight people, shouted “allahu akbar.”
The official was familiar with the investigation but wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill was asked at a news conference whether the suspect shouted the phrase, which means “God is great” in Arabic, or something like it. Mr. O’Neill replied: “Yeah. He did make a statement when he exited the vehicle,” though he declined to elaborate.
Mr. O’Neill said the method of attack and the suspect’s statement enabled officials “to label this a terrorist event.”
He said the 29-year-old man entered the bike path and drove south, hitting pedestrians and cyclists. He then hit a school bus, injuring at least two adults.
He said the man exited the vehicle brandishing a paintball gun and a pellet gun. He was then shot in the abdomen by a police officer and is now hospitalized.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.