The pickup truck crashed into another vehicle after striking bicyclists and pedestrians, and the driver got out wielding what police later said were “imitation” guns. The driver was shot by police before being taken into custody, the New York City Police Department said in a posting on its Twitter account.
The federal government was treating it as a terrorist attack, two US government officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A police spokesman posted a photo showing a white pickup truck on the bike path with its front end mangled and the hood crumpled. The truck was adorned with logos of the Home Depot hardware store chain.
Mangled and flattened bicycles littered the bike path, which runs parallel to the West Side Highway on the western edge of Manhattan along the Hudson River.
One witness, John Williams, a 22-year-old student, told reporters at the scene that he heard about five gunshots before seeing a large man with curly hair being taken into custody.
“He seemed very calm,” Williams said. “He was not putting up a fight.”
The police have not confirmed any gunfire besides shots fired by officers.
A witness told ABC Channel 7 that he saw a white pick-up truck drive south on the bike path at full speed and hit several people. The witness, who was identified only as Eugene, said bodies were lying outside Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s elite public schools.
A video apparently filmed at the scene and circulated online showed scattered bikes on the bike path and at least two people lying on the ground.
Both US President Donald President and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had been briefed about the incident, their offices said. The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the governor was heading to the scene.