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Hero Hudson Valley Man Chases Down Terrorist In NYC Truck Attack

Bill Harris with his wife Casey, son Luke and baby daughter Avery.
Bill Harris with his wife Casey, son Luke and baby daughter Avery. Photo Credit: Contributed

Bill Harris doesn't consider himself a hero.

But it would be hard for most to agree.

After all, the resident of Pearl River in Rockland County chased down terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, who mowed down eight bike riders in a rented Home Depot truck in Manhattan and injured 11 others last week.

When the whole incident began, it was just another sunny day for the Teamster Local 817 truck driver as he waited for traffic at the intersection near Chambers Street when the 41-year-old father of two watched as the Home Depot truck slammed into a school bus and the man inside jumped out of the truck waving two guns around.

"I knew something was wrong when the school bus started backing away as fast as it could," said Harris.

That's when he spotted Saipov and decided he was going to stop him with his truck.

"I just gunned the engine and drove as fast I could toward him," he said. "He aimed the guns at me but when he didn't shoot, I figured he had either run out of ammunition or they weren't real guns."

Once he reached close enough, Harris jumped out of the truck and began chasing Saipov who was screaming "Allahu akbar," or "God is Great," until police could arrive.

"I never did get my hands on him, but I was close and I hope my actions helped save someone else from getting hurt," he said.

Within a few minutes, a police officer arrived and shot Saipov at which time Harris kicked the guns out of his hands and stood over him until the officer could cuff him.

"It was surreal," he said. "But I knew it was something I had to do, my natural instincts just kicked in."

As a Marine veteran and a former volunteer firefighter, Harris said he wasn't afraid at the time, and the feelings of fear and anxiety didn't even kick-in until two days later when it all hit him at once.

"My wife was yelling at me for putting myself in danger with two small kids at home and it just all hit me then, all that had taken place," he said.

A pro-gun advocate and sportsman, Harris said he is a super aware when in large crowds or special events: "You just have to have your swivel head on."

Sunday's shooting in Texas at a church that killed 26 people was just another example to him of there being good people and bad people.

"If someone wants to do harm they are going to whether a have a gun or not," he said. "I just know that I would do the same thing over again. You have to help others."

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