Syracuse native grabs child, runs from NYC attack after people shout ‘he’s got a gun’
Marissa Mulder was on a crowded New York City street when she saw a pickup truck plow into a school bus.
The crash was loud and jarring, Mulder said. Pedestrians stopped on the Lower Manhattan street Tuesday afternoon to peek inside the mangled bus and see if the passengers were OK.
The accident made Mulder feel uneasy, she said. But she didn’t panic until she heard someone scream, “He’s got a gun!”
Mulder and the boy had witnessed part of what officials have called the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
A man hurtled down the crowded Hudson River Bike Path around 3 p.m. in a rented pickup truck — mowing down pedestrians and cyclists, police officials said. Eight people were killed and 11 were seriously injured, officials said.
After driving more than a dozen blocks on the bike path, the man drove onto the West Side Highway at Chambers Street, officials said.
That’s when Mulder said she saw his truck ram a small school bus.
Mulder said she picked up the boy she watches from school around 2:45 p.m. — just like she does every day. She then started to walk him to his friend’s home near the Hudson River to celebrate Halloween.
They were near the Chambers Street intersection, Mulder said, when the truck smashed into the bus.
People standing on the busy street screamed, Mulder said. The boy she cares for asked if there were any kids on the bus.
Mulder said she then peered at the bus and saw two aides pressed against a window.
“I just got a really bad feeling,” Mulder said.
Although she didn’t see the driver of the pickup truck or any children, Mulder said something didn’t feel right. She decided it was time for her to leave with her young charge.
Seconds later, she heard someone shout they had spotted a gun. So when a group of teenagers and a man in a suit yelled “run,” Mulder said she listened.
“Everybody was running, running, running,” she said. “I didn’t even look back…I just grabbed his hand and ran.”
Mulder said she held on to the boy’s hand as they sprinted away from the crash, focused on making it to the building near Battery Park City where the boy’s friend lives. Luckily, the apartment was only a few blocks away, she said.
As they fled, Mulder said the boy asked her why they were running. She told him they were in trouble, she said, and that they just needed to get inside.
They made it to the friend’s apartment. Mulder said they could see helicopters in the air and hear the wail of sirens.
The boy was quiet when he walked inside, Mulder said. She stayed with him when he sat on his friend’s bed and called his dad.
Mulder texted her parents to let them know she was OK. Until her mother told her the incident was on CNN, Mulder said she didn’t know the crash was part of a larger attack.
Before she left the apartment, Mulder helped the boy put on his red Power Rangers Halloween costume. It was comforting, she said, to know he would still go trick-or-treating.
Mulder decided to celebrate Halloween with her friends. She said she met new people and spoke to strangers about the attack.
New Yorkers are shocked and afraid, Mulder said. But the city remains resilient, she said, and did not shut down.
Children still went trick-or-treating. The annual Village Halloween Parade marched on as planned. And today, she said the boy who witnessed part of a terrorist attack went to school.
Mulder said she would pick the boy up from school, just like she did yesterday. And after work, she will keep her plans to sing.
“I think I need to sing tonight. I think that’ll be good therapy,” Mulder said. “I guess I’ll try to put this into song and make sense of this somehow.”
Editor’s note: Marissa Mulder is the daughter of Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard reporter James T. Mulder.
Gallery: Truck drives onto bike path in New York City; at least 8 killed