The city is praising the actions of four Port Authority police officers, who officials said took in the suspect in Monday's explosion inside the passageway between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Times Square subway station. Meanwhile, a representative for the suspect's family said officials have gone too far as they investigate the would-be bomber's background. Our Lori Chung has the story.
"A lot of people could have gotten hurt or killed, and they stepped up big time," Paul Nunziato, the president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association said about four officers who took down a would-be suicide bomber Monday.
There is high praise citywide for the four Port Authority police officers who rushed to place 27-year-old Akayed Ullah into custody, running towards danger after spotting panicked commuters spilling out of the underground passageway.
"They saw wires, a device," Nunziato told me. "They made a decision to engage him and physically restrain him as he struggled and removed the device off him before he could further detonate it. It was scary."
Nunziato called officers Anthony Manfredini, Sean Gallagher, Drew Preston, and Jack Collins heroes.
NY1 was told three of the four responding Port Authority police officers are military veterans — one with training in explosive detection.
Meanwhile, as focus settles in on Ullah, his relatives are taking issue with how the investigation is being handled.
"We saw cousins, siblings, people who had done nothing wrong — and even young children who are distant relatives of this alleged attacker — being targeted, being questioned," said Albert Fox Cahn, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)'s New York legal director.
Cahn, who spoke on behalf of the family, said Ullah's teenage cousin was pulled from class and interrogated without an attorney or his parents present.
"I expect better from our justice system, the family expects better, and we hope we'll see better in the days to come," Cahn said.
FBI and NYPD Crime Scene Unit investigators gather evidence from the blast site Monday. The scene was hidden from view but was still a visual reminder for commuters that the city and the subways are targets for terrorist attacks.
"I walk this tunnel almost every day. It's part of my daily commute," one commuter said. "I was surprised that it even happened there."
"Probably if I have more time I would step out, like maybe on 5th Ave. and just walk instead of walking in the tunnel," another said.
But most said they won't be discouraged from taking the train because of the threat.
"Business as usual," one traveler said. "I think everyone just wants to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as they can."
"Just going with it, whatever comes every day. You just change your route, change your commute, work from home," said another. "I think people just adapt to it."