The former Tampa resident who the FBI said it was seeking as a person of interest in the New York truck attack has rebuked the plot and says it was "not from our religion."
The man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, has not been detained or arrested. On Wednesday, the FBI released a poster saying it was looking for Kadirov, only to announce less than 90 minutes later that it had found him. A law enforcement official said Kadirov was a friend of suspect Sayfullo Saipov's and may not have any role in the case. Saipov didn't have many friends, said the official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
On Thursday, Kadirov released a statement to The Associated Press through a source in touch with his family. It reads: "It is so sad and unbelievable. This not from our religion. It is not acceptable. We as Muslims completely reject this kind of actions. No human being who has a heart can do this."
Kadirov also quoted a passage from the Quran in his statement.
The person in touch with Kadirov's family says the two men knew each other only from their days as fellow drivers for the ride-sharing app Uber and were not close friends. The person — who spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation and its sensitive nature — said Kadirov called a community advocacy organization when he realized he knew Saipov. The person said that the group encouraged Kadirov to cooperate with authorities from his current home in New Jersey, and that the man has done so.
Both Saipov and Kadirov are from Uzbekistan and both ended up in Florida. Saipov lived in Fort Myers at one point and so may have Kadirov. Both then moved to Tampa, and Kadirov lived about three miles east of Saipov's former home on N 56th Street.
A former neighbor told the Tampa Bay Times that Kadirov was a quiet man who moved with his wife and two young boys to Wexford Apartments in 2016 and moved out at the start of this year.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed from New York.