As family members and friends mourned Wednesday for those killed in Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City, President Donald Trump was calling for severe punishment for the suspect being held in connection with the attack.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room,” the president tweeted Wednesday evening. “He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”
Earlier Wednesday evening, about 200 people gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the high school in Argentina that five of Tuesday’s attack victims attended decades ago. The former classmates were in New York City to mark the 30th anniversary of their graduation when tragedy struck.
A suspect identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov was “consumed by hate and a twisted ideology” when he ran down dozens of people, killing at least eight, on a bike path near the World Trade Center, federal prosecutors said. He was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group and committing violence and destruction of motor vehicles and more were expected to be filed.
At the vigil in Argentina, relatives and classmates of the victims, as well as other graduates of the Polytechnic School of Rosario, consoled one another and shared stories.
‘Deserve to stay’
Cesar Lagostino came to honor his friend, Hernan Diego Mendoza, who was one of those killed Tuesday. Lagostino said he remembered Mendoza as an honest and generous person, “among those who deserve to stay in this world.”
Earlier in the day, the Argentine consul in New York said relatives of three of the victims would travel to New York on Thursday or Friday.
Consul Mateo Estreme did not specify Wednesday whose relatives would be coming, but said the consulate was working to give families access to the morgue.
He said he would work with families so the process of returning the bodies to Argentina would happens by week’s end.
“We would like that they return all together to Rosario,” Estreme said, referring to the city where all the victims graduated from high school together.
He said the survivors from Argentina were “still in shock” and were “trying to deal with what happened.”
Also on Wednesday, President Trump called Argentine President Mauricio Macri to offer his condolences for the five Argentines killed in the attack.
Trump tweeted later Wednesday that he spoke to Macri “about the five proud and wonderful men” who were killed.
A statement from Macri’s office said that during the call, Macri reaffirmed his belief that governments must work together strongly against the “scourge of fundamentalist terrorism.”
Closer to the scene of the attack, a New Jersey university said It was mourning the death of one of its students, calling the Tuesday attack “heartbreaking.”
Darren Drake was a project manager for Moody’s Investors Service and was a master’s degree student in the information systems program at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., just across the Hudson River from New York City.
Drake had recently shed more than 90 pounds and was out for a bike ride between meetings Tuesday when the truck hit him.
Stevens president Nariman Farvardin sent a message about Drake to the university community Wednesday. He said the “thoughts and sympathies” of the Stevens community were with Drake’s family and friends, and that Drake’s death was “an enormous loss” for the community.
Only New Yorker
The only New Yorker killed in the attack was 23-year-old Nicholas Cleves, a software engineer and web developer who lived in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
Online profiles show he attended Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City and graduated last year from Skidmore College with a degree in computer science. He had been working as a software engineer for the Unified Digital Group.
Cleves described himself on his Facebook page as a “nerdy white boy.” The most recent photo posted there showed him posing with some friends next to a Darth Vader figure at a “Star Wars” exhibit.
Outlining his aspirations on LinkedIn, Cleves wrote that he was “searching for ways in which technology can be used to make positive impacts on our everyday lives.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.