By Christopher White
The Tablet National Correspondent
NEW YORK – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, decried the violent actions of an individual who attacked pedestrians and bikers in Manhattan on Tuesday as “senseless” and “heinous.”
“Today our city and our nation are stunned and horrified by another act of senseless violence,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio encouraged New Yorkers to pray and come together in solidarity.
“We pray for all those who were killed in the deadly truck attack in New York City, and for their families whose lives have been changed by this act of evil,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “Now is the time for New Yorkers to come together in solidarity standing firm against any threats to our Democracy.”
Later in the day, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, added that the attack was “horrendous.”
“This horrendous act weighs on all of our hearts,” Cardinal DiNardo said in a statement released by the bishops’ conference. “Reports about the attack are too preliminary to understand fully what has happened, but it grieves me deeply that we must again respond to such acts of terror.”
“To the family and friends of those who have died, please know that you are not alone, and that the prayers of the Bishops and of all the Church are with you and your loved ones,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “To you and to everyone, I would like to say that the forces of darkness always try to wipe away our hope; but our hope is in the name of the Lord and will always remain firm.”
The attack occurred late Tuesday afternoon when a driver intentionally plowed into a bike lane in the TriBeCa neighborhood of lower Manhattan. Eight victims are feared dead and more than a dozen individuals were injured after he drove his vehicle off-road for a reported twenty blocks.
The FBI is treating the situation as an act of terrorism, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”
“While details continue to emerge, one thing is clear: once again, no matter our religion, racial or ethnic background, or political beliefs, we must put our differences aside and come together in faith and love to support those who are injured, pray for those who have died as well as their families and loved ones, and work towards greater respect and understanding among all people so that heinous and evil acts like this become a thing of the past,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The attacker was shot and apprehended by the New York Police Department (NYPD) after he crashed into a school bus and exited his vehicle – a rented truck from Home Depot – reportedly holding a gun. He is in custody and is being treated at a nearby Manhattan hospital, though the NYPD have yet to release the suspect’s name.
Much of lower Manhattan, a major financial hub, has been closed o! by the police responding to the scene.
In May of this year, a driver intentionally crashed into a pedestrian zone in New York’s Times Square, killing one person and injuring another twenty-two individuals.