Thursday, February 22, 2018
Nation & World

What we know about New York terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov’s Tampa ties

BY RICHARD DANIELSON, CHRISTOPHER O’DONNELL, MARLENE SOKOL AND JOSH SOLOMON

TAMPA — The man New York authorities say used a truck to kill at least eight people in Manhattan Tuesday had an address in Tampa, according to media reports and a Missouri court record.

What we know so far about 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov suggests the outline of an immigrant from Uzbekistan who has tried to make a living on the road as a truck driver, has had a few brushes with the law for traffic offenses and may have lived in several states.

Ohio resident Kobiljon Matkarov, who also comes from Uzbekistan, told the Tampa Bay Times he has known Saipov for several years. He said the two met in Florida. Matkarov lived in Fort Myers until about three years ago.

They were not friends, Matkarov said, though they are connected as friends through Facebook. Still, Saipov convinced Matkarov to work as a truck driver, a job that he still does.

The few times they did meet, Saipov made an impression on Matkarov’s kids, taking time to play with them, he said. They responded to his happy personality.

RELATED COVERAGE: Driver, reportedly from Tampa, kills 8 in New York City in ‘cowardly act of terror’

Matkarov said he understood Saipov was married and had two or three children, although he never met any of Saipov’s family. Saipov had invited him to his wedding but Matkarov could not make it.

Their conversations were mostly small talk about work and families, said Matkarov, who has five children aged 1 to 18.

"He’s very friendly," he said. "He’s a very, very nice guy."

The last time Matkarov saw Saipov was during the summer when Saipov gave him a ride to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Matkarov and his family were traveling back to Uzbekistan for a vacation.

He said that Saipov was working as an Uber driver while living in New Jersey.

Matkarov said he cannot believe the man he knows would have committed the terror attack even though his daughters on Tuesday sent him news reports that included pictures of Saipov. He fears people will blame the attack on Saipov’s Muslim faith.

"This is bad, man. He’s no terrorist," he said. "I know him for the good guy — I don’t know him for a bad side."

In Tampa, Saipov had an address at the Heritage at Tampa apartments off of N 56th Street, north of Sligh Avenue, according to a commercial database that aggregates public records information about individuals from a variety of sources.

A woman at the apartment that was identified as Saipov’s on residential records would not give her name, but said FBI agents were at her apartment Tuesday night, that she had lived in the unit less than a year and that she didn’t know Saipov.

Also:

• The Washington Post reported Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan about five or six years ago. Dilnoza Abdusamatova, 24, told the Post that Saipov stayed with her family in Cincinnati for his first two weeks in the country because their fathers were friends.

She said that Saipov then moved to Florida to start a trucking company. Her family believes he got married about a year after arriving in the U.S. and may now have two children. Around that same time, she said, he cut off contact with them.

"He stopped talking to us when he got married," Abdusamatova said.

• The Daily Beast reported that Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov has a commercial drivers license issued by the state of Florida that would qualify him to drive a truck with an attached trailer.

• Records related to a Maryland driving offense in 2011 indicate that Saipov then had an address in Fort Myers.

• A "Sayfulloh" Saipov Facebook page, taken down at some point Tuesday night, listed 17 friends, including Matkarov. Several of the friend appear to be from or have ties to Uzbekistan. The page was last updated in 2013 and indicated then that Saipov lived in Cleveland, Ohio, at the time.

• Corporate records in Ohio show two companies incorporated by Sayfullo Saipov: Sayf Motors in Cincinnati in 2011 and Bright Auto LLC in the Akron suburb of Cuyahoga Falls in 2013.

• Missouri court records show a misdemeanor arrest in April 2016 for Saipov, listing an address at the Heritage at Tampa apartments, for failure to maintain the required brake system on a motor carrier vehicle.

Times senior news researchers John Martin and Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Comments
Hospitals overwhelmed by bombing blitz of Damascus suburbs

Hospitals overwhelmed by bombing blitz of Damascus suburbs

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Doctors in Syria’s rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus said Wednesday they were unable to keep up with the staggering number of casualties, amid a ferocious bombing campaign by government forces that has targeted hospitals, apartme...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Crews used boats to help residents amid Midwest flooding

Crews used boats to help residents amid Midwest flooding

ELKHART, Ind. — Crews used boats to help residents evacuate their homes in northern Indiana after rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday combined with melting snow to flood rivers, roads and other low-lying areas in several states. The s...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Supreme Court rules on terrorism, whistleblowers and prisoners

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court issued four decisions Wednesday, including ones on international terrorism, whistleblowers in securities cases and civil rights suits filed by prisoners.The court unanimously rejected an attempt by victims of three 1997...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rev. Billy Graham’s life: Photo gallery and timeline

Rev. Billy Graham’s life: Photo gallery and timeline

The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer’s son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation’s best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died Wednesday at his home. H...
Published: 02/21/18
Oprah Winfrey matches Amal and George Clooney’s $500,000 to ‘March for our Lives’

Oprah Winfrey matches Amal and George Clooney’s $500,000 to ‘March for our Lives’

Oprah Winfrey has announced on Twitter that she will match the $500,000 donation from Amal and George Clooney to students organizing nationwide marches against gun violence.Her tweet said, "George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am joinin...
Published: 02/20/18
Trump calls for ban on gun devices like bump stocks

Trump calls for ban on gun devices like bump stocks

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to "ban all devices" like bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre.The president is making the announcement to curb the us...
Published: 02/20/18
3 Parkland students awarded Army Medal of Heroism. One posthumously accepted to West Point

3 Parkland students awarded Army Medal of Heroism. One posthumously accepted to West Point

Three students slain in the Parkland school shooting are getting posthumous medals of heroism, and one was to be buried with it pinned to the chest of his Junior ROTC uniform today, the Army’s Cadet Command said Tuesday."One will be presented to the ...
Published: 02/20/18
NRA warns ‘they’re coming after us’ in response to billboard graffiti

NRA warns ‘they’re coming after us’ in response to billboard graffiti

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Rifle Association is rallying members after a Kentucky billboard was spray-painted with the message "Kill the NRA." The NRA’s verified Facebook page posted a photo of the sign Monday, telling gun owners, "this is a wake...
Published: 02/20/18
Man accused of stealing ancient terra-cotta warrior’s thumb. Chinese official wants him ‘severely punished.’

Man accused of stealing ancient terra-cotta warrior’s thumb. Chinese official wants him ‘severely punished.’

For more than 2,000 years, the terra-cotta calvaryman statue guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor, surviving centuries underneath the ground.Then, in December, a man in an ugly sweater took his thumb.And a selfie.The FBI arrested a suspect, 24-y...
Published: 02/20/18
Rare copy of Declaration of Independence survived Civil War hidden behind wallpaper

Rare copy of Declaration of Independence survived Civil War hidden behind wallpaper

During the Civil War, the precious document was hidden behind wallpaper in a home in Virginia to keep Union soldiers from finding it.Later, it sat in a closet in Kentucky, in a broken frame, unappreciated and stored in a cardboard box.And later still...
Published: 02/19/18