Police, State Officials Vow To Be Vigilant After New York City Terror Attack

Authorities in Connecticut said they are closely monitoring the New York City attack that left eight dead and 11 injured, although a deliberate incident like Tuesday's is often unforeseen.

"There is no way to prepare for a copycat incident like this, as we've seen in New York," David Hartman, the New Haven Police department's public information officer and a 14-year liaison to the New York Police Department's Counter Terrorism Division, said.

A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial Tuesday afternoon.

The driver — 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, identified by officials on the condition of anonymity —was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was "Allahu Akbar!" Arabic for "God is great," authorities said. He underwent surgery and was expected to survive.

"There is no way to identify, based on one incident in one community, what an incident would be like in our own community," Hartman said.

An attack by a lone wolf can't be treated or detected in the same way as attacks carried out in multiple locations that can be linked together, he said. "Rarely do [authorities] get advance notice of an incident like this."

Despite the unforeseen circumstances surrounding such attack, Hartman said the New Haven Police department is "ever vigilant," as it is every day. The city is home to Union Station and the only one with a port its size in the state, he said.

Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the capital city began working to respond to the threat of terrorism years ago, whether it was by blocking certain roads during big events or building a crime center that gives police a live look at the city through sophisticated video surveillance and gunshot detection systems.

“We’re starting to do some creative things,” he said Wednesday morning. At the recent Eversource Hartford Marathon, for example, police had dump trucks and large containers blocking certain roads.

Despite that, such an attack could happen, he said. And if it does, city police have established relationships with numerous federal agencies which would allow for a speedy response.

“So when something like this happens, we don’t have to wait for information,” Foley said. “We have it immediately.”

In an interview with CNN shortly after the attacks, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said there's an obvious and increased use of trucks in both homegrown and international terror incidents, and that it was fortunate the guns displayed were not assault weapons that could have killed dozens of people.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said he is “sickened” by the attack.

“Sickened by yesterday's attack in New York City,” he tweeted Wednesday morning. “The civilized world stands with people of NYC, the victims and their families.”

In a statement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the "state will continue to monitor this situation and respond accordingly as more details are known. Today's attack in New York City is a painful reminder that we must always be vigilant and aware of our surroundings.

"We pray for those who lost their lives, offer our deepest sympathies to their families and friends, and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery for those injured. And we thank all of the first responders who provided critical assistance responding to this terrible act of violence."

"We urge all Connecticut residents if you see something suspicious in your daily travels – say something," Malloy said in the statement. "Call 1-866-HLS-TIPS."

Courant Staff Writer Christine Dempsey and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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