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‘Nice, humble guy’: New York cop who stopped Sayfullo Saipov hailed as a hero

Ryan Nash stopped the New York attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, in his tracks but the officer is too modest to admit he’s a hero. Nash says the police force was just doing its job.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2017 09:11 IST
Agencies, New York
Ryan Nash,New York attack,New York City Police
New York City police officer Ryan Nash speaks to reporters at the Suffolk County Police Department's Fifth Precinct in Patchogue.(AP Photo)

New York City police officer Ryan Nash was responding to a call on Tuesday about an emotionally disturbed person at a high school not far from the World Trade Center when someone reported an accident on the bike path outside.

Nash and his partner, John Hasiotis, raced to a gruesome sight: A man in a truck had slammed into a school bus after mowing down people in a bike lane. He was waving guns around and yelling. Officer Nash, 28, told him to drop the weapons and then fired, striking the man once.

Nash stopped the attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, in his tracks, but the officer is too modest to admit he’s a hero, officials said. Saipov was actually wielding a pellet gun and a paintball gun, authorities said, but they looked like real guns. Witnesses reported the 29-year-old hollered “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great!” in Arabic.

“He thinks what he did was not an act of heroism. He thinks it’s why he joined the police department,” New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters, referring to Nash. “I don’t think we could have found a more humble human being.”

A police officer on a motor bike guards a bike path next to a makeshift memorial for the October 31 terror attack victims, in New York. (AFP Photo)

Nash, on the NYPD for five years, is assigned to the First Precinct in Lower Manhattan.

He told reporters at a press briefing that he appreciated the public recognition of his actions and those of his fellow officers.

“Although I feel that we were just doing our job, like thousands of officers do every day, I understand the importance of yesterday’s events and the role we played,” Nash said.

“I just want to thank my family and friends for their support and all the responding officers who assisted me.”

Speaking at the news conference alongside O’Neill and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said Nash deserved all the accolades he was receiving.

“He was very humble about what he did, but what he did was extraordinary and gave people such faith and such appreciation in our police force,” de Blasio said. “He thought this was all in a day’s work and what a cop does to protect other people.”

Patrick J Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said Nash was first at the scene. He said Hasiotis pinpointed witnesses and officers Michael Welsome and Kevin McGinn collected the gunman’s weapons and with Hasiotis secured the area.

“While we mourn the terrible loss of life and the injuries to innocent people we are proud of and grateful for the quick action of a team of police officers who responded to cries for help and took charge of a chaotic and dangerous situation.”

No one answered the door earlier Wednesday at Nash’s two-story yellow Cape Cod-style home. Neighbours said he moved in sometime in the past year and largely kept to himself, though he often jogged outside.

“What he did was amazing, you know, helping to keep anybody else from being killed,” said neighbour Dino Cortina. “It’s just nice to know, nice guy.”

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 08:54 IST