The narrative of Sayfullo Saipov’s time in Northeast Ohio has taken a darker turn in the 24 hours since we first learned his name. But those that knew him best say he was not radicalized here.
“He was a little aggressive here,” says Mirrakhmat Muminov who worshiped at the same mosque as Saipov.
“Whatever happened with him, it did not happen in Ohio. It happened somewhere else.”
He says he always was against whatever the group wanted to do. Angry, but not evil.
“He was radicalized in the United States,” Muminov says. “Because of freedom of the internet and the propaganda.”
He has not yet slept since seeing his face on the news last night.
“It was shocking. I mean, still now. I can’t sleep.”
He describes him as not friendly – a contrast to what those who saw him around his Cuyahoga Falls apartment said last night. They called him quiet and pleasant.
Leaders at the Islamic Society of Akron and Kent say the FBI has arrived asking questions of those that had encounters with Saipov. They are encouraging everyone who knew him to speak to authorities honestly.
Today the FBI says they found on his cell phone 90 over 90 ISIS propaganda videos including suicide attacks – as well as 4,000 separate ISIS images.
While Saipov is still believed to be a lone wolf, the deep dive into what made this man snap remains very much in focus in Northeast Ohio.