NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD Crime Scene Unit worked for days canvassing the Chelsea bombing scene, beginning the framework to catch a suspect.
The team and the work they do often escape the glare of the media.
CBS2’s Kristine Johnson was recently given exclusive access inside to see what it’s like investigating terror.
The Chelsea bombing nearly two weeks ago sent glass flying and people fleeing, and injured 29 innocent people.
Among the first on the scene was the Crime Scene Unit, an elite, highly trained squad led by Deputy Inspector Michael King, who described arriving in Chelsea that Saturday night.
“You’re racing against the clock,” he said.
“We’re trying to find the seat of the bomb, which is where the explosion occurred.”
Do the officers try to block it out that another bomb could go off at any time?
“I do,” King said. “I get to the scene, and the fear has to be blocked out and you have to be focused.”
Collecting evidence takes a certain mindset.
“They have to be patient,” King said. “This job processing crime scenes is very slow. They have to be meticulous.”
In tandem with the FBI, it took a week for the team to collect all of the evidence.
Why is it so crucial that they take that amount of time?
“You have one shot at that crime scene,” King said. “Once we leave and that scene’s released and cleaned up, we don’t have a second chance. We don’t have a second shot. It’s done. It’s gone.”
It’s a job they take very seriously, and they’re on it 24/7.
“No one here turns it off after they leave work,” King said. “All of us take if very personally.”
The payoff can be huge. In 2010, there was a close call when a smoking bomb left in Times Square failed to detonate. Detective Anthony D’Amato worked the case, collecting evidence that directly led to an arrest.
“It’s great just to be a part of something so big,” he said.
Investigators have also gone high-tech. Detective Anthony Ribustello demonstrated a laser scanner that measures millions of data points per second to create 3-D versions of crime scenes.
“It freezes the scene forever in time,” he said. “So you could go back to the scene like years later on.”
Less than 48 hours after the Chelsea bombing, police made an arrest.
King has this message: “Rest easy at night because we are here 24 hours a day. You ring the bell, and we answer the call.”