Federal official tells N.Y. Times it’s not terrorist threat; no motive known
Police keep watch after an incident involving a suspicious vehicle caused authorities to shut down parts of Times Square on Saturday in New York City. (Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)
Reuters and The Associated Press via MSNBC.com
May 1, 2010
NEW YORK — Police found an apparent car bomb in a parked sport utility vehicle Saturday evening in New York City’s Times Square, then evacuated buildings and cleared streets of thousands of tourists in “the Crossroads of the World.”
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said the device was found after a mounted policeman spotted a box smoking in the back of a sport utility vehicle about 6:30 p.m.
“This appears to be a car bomb that the bomb squad is in the process of dismantling,” police spokesman Paul Browne said. “We do not know the motive.”
Reuters quoted a New York Fire Department official as saying the vehicle was found to contain explosives, gasoline, propane tanks and burned wires. The officer, who did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said a man was seen fleeing the vehicle.
Police evacuated several residential and commercial buildings and cleared the streets of people. Police were deployed around the area with heavy weapons on empty streets in the heart of midtown Manhattan that normally teem with thousands of theatergoers and tourists. …
The vehicle was parked on 45th Street near the corner of Seventh Avenue, police said. The New York Times reported that the vehicle was a Nissan Pathfinder with Connecticut plates.
FBI agents are on the scene with the New York Police Department, and the matter is being taken seriously, said Paul Bresson, head of the FBI’s public affairs office at bureau headquarters in Washington.
The White House said that President Barack Obama was briefed on incident. In a statement, the administration said that the president, who attended an annual dinner for White House news correspondents Saturday night, praised the quick response by the New York Police Department. …
Mayor Michael Bloomberg left early from the White House correspondent’s dinner Saturday night. A news conference was planned in New York for early Sunday.
‘A flash’ from the back of SUV
Times Square lies about four traffic-choked miles north of the site where terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, then laid waste to it on Sept. 11, 2001.
A New York City firefighter who said he arrived early on the scene described the vehicle as a dark-colored SUV.
He confirmed the vehicle was smoking and also said he saw “a flash” from the back of the SUV between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
“The SUV was smoking. There was a flash and we put two and two together” and an evacuation was ordered, he said.
The square itself was mostly evacuated by 8 p.m., according to Reuters reporters on the scene. …
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — May 1, 2009
Clockwise from top left: James R. McIlvaine, Mark A. Wojciechowski, Tyler Trahan, Brad A. Davis, Benjamin Moore, Jr., and Leroy O. Webster. (Photos: MySpace, Facebook, and the tribute page for CSM Moore. (Photo credit: Salem-News.com)
One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that three U.S. troops had been killed in fighting west of Baghdad, pushing the U.S. toll for April to 18 — double the number killed in March — and making April the deadliest month thus far in 2009 for American forces in Iraq.
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