AN Irish-American police officer who shot and apprehended the New York terror attacker has been hailed a “hero” after he “risked his life to save others”.
NYPD officer Ryan Nash, 28, gunned down Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov on Manhattan’s West Side Highway yesterday after the suicidal terrorist killed eight people with a rented van.
Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistani, survived being shot but was quickly arrested by the hero Irish-American cop.
Mr Nash became an NYPD officer in July 2012 and is a member of the Emerald Society – an organisation of American police officers and fire fighters of Irish heritage.
He was responding to a report of a possible suicidal student at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School when Saipov began driving into pedestrians adjacent to the Hudson River at around 3.05pm.
Nash pursued the terrorist when he fled his rented pickup truck armed with what looked like two firearms, but were actually a paintball gun and pellet gun.
The Irish-American cop incapacitated Saipov with a shot to the abdomen before placing him in handcuffs.
Saipov, who immigrated to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010, is expected to recover from his wounds – which could prove vital to the FBI’s investigation.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill told reporters at a press conference Tuesday evening that he wanted to “commend” Ryan Nash for “stopping the carnage moments after it began.”
The Mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, also singled out Nash for praise.
“I want to thank everyone at the NYPD, all our first responders, for their extraordinary efforts in the midst of this tragedy,” the mayor said.
“Starting with the officer who stopped this tragedy from continuing — all the first responders who came to the aid of those who were injured.”
Officer Nash was hospitalised on Tuesday night for tinnitus in his ears following the deployment of his firearm.
Joe Borelli, a Republican New York City councillor, tweeted a photo of the proud Irish-American and wrote: "Here's the hero cop the world should be talking about.
"Police Officer Ryan Nash risked his life to save others. Thank u Ryan, thank u #NYPD.”
FBI investigators are currently evaluating a note that was left by former Uber driver Saipov in his deadly pickup truck.
The note was written in English and credited the attack to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
The President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev released an open letter on Wednesday stating that his country would use all "means necessary" to help the FBI’s investigation into his citizen’s actions.
His statement came as tributes continued to be paid to the eight victims of Saipov, five of whom were a group of Argentinian friends celebrating a school reunion.