Eight people are dead after a truck drove into a Manhattan bike path Tuesday in what investigators described as a 'deliberate' act of terror.
Just after 2 p.m., a white pickup truck jumped a curb and drove onto a bike path running alongside the West Side Highway.
The suspect has been identified as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who lives in Florida.
Officials believe he acted alone and they say there's no evidence this attack was part of a larger plot.
Former New York Police Department Sgt. Lou Savelli, who currently lives in Des Moines, said the Manhattan bike path was an easy target.
"This was a suicide attack, and he chose the location because of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) and the memorial for 9-11,” Savelli said.
Savelli said his former colleagues on the police force responded to the attack Tuesday and sent him updates whenever possible.
"So what terrorists are doing now with ISIS (the Islamic State group) is they're looking for the easy targets, and getting in a truck or car and running people over is an easy way to do it,” Savelli said.
Savelli said using vehicles to kill people has made headlines recently, but the method is not new.
"There was an incident in front of a Walmart in Colorado and another one in Las Vegas about 10 or 15 years ago, so this is not a new thing to the United States,” Savelli said.
He said while it is easy to think of Des Moines as a bubble in which nothing bad happens, ISIS is looking to attack anywhere it sees vulnerability -- even in our backyard.
"In places like Iowa or other places, they don't have the security that New York City has,” Savelli said. “Here, you may have one or two cops in the area, but there's probably not a truck blocking it, probably not Jersey barriers, probably not a lot of security for it because they don't expect it to happen."
Savelli said situational awareness is key and that anyone who sees something suspicious should say something to local law enforcement officials.