NEW YORK – Four Port Authority cops have been hailed as heroes following Monday’s terror attack in New York.
Even as panicked commuters rushed toward them, four officers didn’t hesitate to engage the man accused of detonating an explosive in the New York City subway system Monday. They have been credited with leaping on top of the suspect and removing the device before more damage could be done, reported ABC News.
The explosion occurred in an underground passageway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, sending commuters scrambling. People scurried to evacuate a major transit hub just blocks from Times Square. Amazingly, despite the rush-hour crowds, only four people in addition to the homicidal bomber were injured, according to officials. Three were described as minor injuries, one as significant.
Law enforcement sources have said the accused bomber, Akayed Ullah, 27, is in the hospital, badly injured in the arm and torso from the device that went off in his arms.
Officer Anthony Manfredini of the Port Authority Police Department apprehended Ullah. He did so with the help of three other officers: Sean Gallagher, Jack Collins and Drew Preston, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association President Paul Nunziato told ABC News Monday evening.
Manfredini was stationed just outside the corridor where the detonation occurred. He “saw the panic and commotion,” radioed for help and then entered the corridor with the three other officers, Nunziato said.
“They engaged the suspect, who was on the ground, they handcuffed him, they saw wires, cellphone. They made a split-second decision to actually get on top of him and restrain him, and [Manfredini] actually removed the device off of his person before he could further detonate it,” Nunziato said.
Nunziato praised the officers for their quick action. “It’s a split-second decision based on training. Training and having the moxie to get in there, to put your life on the line. … I’m extremely proud. They couldn’t have done it any better.”
He added: “Those four guys are heroes.”
The explosive device was built from a 12-inch-long pipe, black powder and rigged with a 9-volt battery and a wire that came from a Christmas light, according to a law enforcement source. Since it was strapped to the suspect, the assumption is he had been prepared to die a suicide bomber, the source said.
Moreover, the pipe had nails stuffed into it, the source said, and it had the ability to impose more injuries than it did.
“This could have been worse,” a law enforcement source told ABC News.
However, the pipe did not fully shatter and a 6-inch piece was discovered fully intact.
Ullah, originally from Bangladesh, told authorities he is self-inspired from ISIS online propaganda, sources said. Furthermore, he told authorities no one directed him to carry out the attack and he talked about the plight of Muslims over the years, a law enforcement source said.
Video of the incident, shot by a surveillance camera, shows commuters walking in the passageway when the explosion erupts. The camera screen filled with smoke as people scattered.
Ullah is set to face terror-related federal charges, a law enforcement source said.