BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Court records show that the Maryland Transportation Authority Police pulled over New York City terror attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov six years ago near the Hatem Bridge in Havre De Grace, while driving a commercial vehicle.
His logbook wasn’t current. It was just a year after the immigrant from Uzbekistan entered the United States. He lived in Florida at the time and according to published reports, he was already raising the suspicions he was being radicalized.
“So the question becomes what do you do,” said Michael Vesely of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “It’s very hard to root out the source of radicalization when it’s a lone wolf getting their information from radial websites or radical social media accounts.”
The method Saipov used for his attack: a rented truck. It did little to raise suspicion.
“The attacker was vetted by Uber as a driver and he rented from Home Depot which does require a driver’s license, a credit card and proof of insurance, but I do think there will be more background checking of people who rent vehicles, especially trucks,” Vesely said.
“We’ve met with the business community and different businesses about things,” said T.J. Smith with Baltimore City police. He says one of those things is having businesses notify them about large fertilizer purchases that could be used for a bomb.
Police have also long used barriers at police headquarters and even large trucks to block off and protect big events.
“That’s to keep you safe, keep people safe,” Smith said. “It’s actually a foolish comment to think that we’re not going to do everything we can to buffer an area that’s going to have an influx of people. Unfortunately, evil people have screwed things up for us.”
Vesely says with recent victories against ISIS, expect a rise in danger here at home.
“When you make political gains against their strongholds in the Middle East and Syria, you see more of a lashing out. There will probably be more but smaller attacks,” he said.