New York terror suspect 'eyeballed' horrified driver

A man has given a graphic account to the FBI of the New York terror attack, saying the suspect came within metres of him, "eyeballing" him as he waved guns in the air, and spoke incoherently.

"He gets out of his pick-up truck and he's coming towards me," Anthony, who was waiting outside a primary school in lower Manhattan for his 12-year-old son, told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

"He had a big thick beard, very long, and he was expressionless."

"He was talking to himself out loud, not really screaming. It was gibberish. He could have been saying: God is great in Arabic. I couldn't understand it."

"He was waving his hands up and then I saw he has guns."

Anthony quickly realised it was not a simple car accident when he saw that Sayfullo Saipov was holding weapons, which police later discovered were a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

But at the time, Anthony said it was terrifying, and as Saipov looked straight at him walking towards him, he shifted his eyes away.

The 29-year-old then changed direction and it was soon after that Anthony heard five shots ring out, one of them hitting the suspect in the abdomen.

Anthony then rushed to stop children leaving the school grounds.

"I started screaming to the kids: 'Get back in the building. There's a guy with a gun'.

"There's a shooter, there's a shooter!" he said.

"I was just pushing kids back in the school."

He herded about 40 children back inside, including his son, and they remained in lockdown until 6.30pm.

Anthony was then asked by investigators to identify the alleged attacker who was being treated at the scene.

"They took me over to the ambulance. [Saipov] was laying there, pretty dazed.

"He didn't have a shirt on but I saw the beard and I recognised him. I said 'that's him'."

Anthony also saw two of the victims on the bike path, white sheets covering them.

"Their mangled Citibikes were next to them".

Anthony said he spent three hours on Tuesday night being interviewed by the FBI and Homeland Security as they tried to piece together New York's deadliest attack since 9/11, and get a clearer picture of the suspect's mindset.

"The FBI basically said he was a lone wolf.

"He must have been doing about 40-50 miles an hour on the bike path, running over people, not caring.

"If he hadn't hit that bus, he would have kept going, running down more people."

"The bus came out at a good time and stopped further deaths."

Anthony, whose car remained impounded at the crime scene on Wednesday afternoon, said what he witnessed still seems "surreal".

While many parents thanked him for saving their children from danger, Anthony said it was what any parent would have done in those circumstances.

"It's not heroic. It's what you do.

"I had a mindset to protect those kids. It's what I feel anyone would do."

This story New York terror suspect 'eyeballed' horrified driver first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.