Nation & World

New York terror attack shakes up singer Josh Groban, who was a few blocks from scene

Singer Josh Groban was half a block away from the terror attack in New York on Oct. 31, 2017, when he responded on Twitter with a series of posts. The Tony-nominated performer is seen here in this 2015 file photo.
Singer Josh Groban was half a block away from the terror attack in New York on Oct. 31, 2017, when he responded on Twitter with a series of posts. The Tony-nominated performer is seen here in this 2015 file photo. Invision/AP

Josh Groban was in New York walking his dog when an act of terror exploded a half a block away.

The singer-actor was approaching the Hudson River in Manhattan when he heard an attack there that left eight people dead and 13 injured after a 29-year-old man plowed his pickup truck down a crowded bike path on Tuesday. Officials are calling it the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, according to The New York Times.

The man police identified as Sayfullo Saipov, who has lived in Tampa and Paterson, New Jersey, then smashed his pickup truck into a school bus, jumped out and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet and paintball gun while shouting “Allahu Akbar” — Arabic for “God is great.” He was shot in the abdomen by a New York City police officer.

Groban, who was nominated for a best actor Tony earlier this year for his role in Broadway’s “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” shared his account of the attack on Twitter. “Oh my god I just heard gun shots and ran with my dog. Downtown. F---,” he posted at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday.

About 20 minutes later, Groban led off a series of tweets by posting, “I hope everyone’s ok. Was half a block from me, didn’t see it but heard 8-10 quick rounds fired off. Be safe with your kids out there.”

Tuesday is Halloween.

Groban then added to his thread. “I’m shaking. That’s the corner I was supposed to have my coffee but my dog pulled me into the park half a block away 10 min before shooting.”

Groban called NYPD and NYFD first responders “amazing” with a video post. He added he was “Devastated for the victims and their families tonight & inspired by the spirit of this city. Sirens and trick or treaters everywhere.”

Soon, other celebrities took to the social media platform to express messages of sympathy and outrage.

Tony-winning actor Ben Platt, who won for his role in “Dear Evan Hansen,” cursed the “truck-driving monster,” and pleaded for recognition of the victims rather than the terrorist. “Let him fade away. Don’t bother with his name, only the names of his victims. I love New York City.”

Singers Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and Charlie Puth also posted. Smith, the balladeer, said “New York. My heart is with you always and forever. Devastating news.”

Swift posted a picture of the city and a broken heart emoji on her “I love you New York” Instagram feed.

Culture Club lead singer and DJ Boy George shared several emotional messages on Twitter. “God bless you New York. You are a strong, vibrant, multicultural city and nothing will ever bring you down! My heart is with you!”

Performers Billy Eichner and Josh Gad, along with political figures such as Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. senator from New York, and Sen. Bernie Sanders also took to Twitter.

“New York’s resilience is stronger than a cowardly act of terror. Thinking of the victims, their families, & the responders who saved lives,” Clinton posted Tuesday evening.

President Donald Trump, no stranger to the social media site, responded: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

In another series of tweets, the president added “condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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