Two eyewitnesses to the terror attack in New York City Tuesday described to The Daily Caller how they ran away from the perpetrator after his vehicle smashed into innocent pedestrians. At least eight people were slain and almost a dozen injured when a truck driver intentionally plowed through a group of people and aimed for a school bus in lower Manhattan outside of three public schools.
Lynn Snowden Picket (sister-in-law to this reporter) and her eight-year old daughter Lauren both heard a loud crash outside the schoolyard gates of P.S. 89 in downtown Manhattan around the West Side Highway and Chambers Street.
Snowden Picket, who was picking up her daughter from school, saw that a Home Depot truck had crashed.
“When I came out of the school gates I heard a big loud bang and I looked up you know less than a block away. There was a Home Depot truck that had a hood that was up in smoke and was pouring out of the engine, and there were a lot of high school students who were kind of stumbling around and picking up their backpacks,” she said.
Snowden Picket continued, “And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh did he plow into some kids?’ So, I was trying to look on the ground to see if anybody was lying there, like an obvious injured person, and I told Lauren maybe we should go over there and see if everyone’s OK and if we could help. And then, the whole crowd that had been kind of milling around there suddenly took off toward us and one kid said, ‘he has a gun!'”
Snowden Picket grabbed her young daughter and ran toward the West Side Highway across the street to get as far away as possible from the man. Hoping to have the traffic light to cross the street, she guided her daughter forward, but Lauren looked back and noticed that the suspect appeared to have two weapons.
“He was really wobbly. He couldn’t stand up straight, and he had one gun that was in his hand that not many people could see. And then he had this other gun that a lot of people could see and it looked like it had a lot of bullets in it,” Lauren told TheDC.
However, Snowden Picket was facing forward and was more interested in finding an escape route, but a traffic officer blocked their way.
“So, the traffic cop blocks us. Like don’t cross the street like everybody stay put. I took Lauren’s hand. I said, ‘Run, run with me.’ Because, we had the light, so I just took off across the street,” Snowden Picket said. “We saw a taxi coming up and we jumped in, and I said, ‘There’s a guy with a gun on the corner over there.’ And we passed by the guy and [the driver] said, ‘Yeah I see him.’ And then I heard gunshots. A lot it seemed.”
The suspect, who drove a Home Depot rental truck, jumped a curb at West Houston Street and drove south on the bike path on the west side of the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan for a number of blocks. A pellet gun and a paintball gun were later discovered at the scene, CNN reported. After crashing the truck into a school bus, he abandoned the vehicle while showing fake firearms and was shot in the stomach by a police officer, the NYPD confirmed.
Mother and daughter huddled together in the vehicle. “I was holding Lauren down. I didn’t look out the window. I didn’t see anything. Obviously, I was too busy hiding,” she said.
“We heard loud banging noises and she told me to duck my head, and I did, and then I didn’t know what happened but mommy just went over me and we got home safely,” Lauren said.
Both made it to their home in downtown Manhattan and were greeted by Snowden Picket’s husband Bronson Picket and 11-year-old son Shane.