RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two NYPD officers, one of them from Long Island, were honored for their bravery in Suffolk County on Wednesday.
As WCBS-880’s Mike Xirinachs reported, it was July when someone tossed what appeared to be a ticking time bomb at an NYPD cruiser in Times Square with officer Peter Cybulski and Sergeant Hameed Armani inside.
The device landed on the officers’ dashboard, lit up and was making a loud noise. That’s when Cybulski turned to Armani.
“He goes, ‘Boss, this is a bomb.’ The light went off, started clicking. I look around, saw a lot of kids, a lot of young people,” Armani said at a news briefing Thursday morning. “We both look at each other and I go, ‘We’re going to go, but I’m not going to have anyone else go with us.”’
“We knew what each other was thinking,” Cybulski said. “We weren’t going to let anything happen in Times Square.”
Instead of fleeing the apparent bomb, they chose to quickly drive it to a location where it couldn’t hurt anyone except themselves.
“We put on the lights and siren, I’m trying to clear people with my hand. Took a couple minutes to get about a block-and-a-half away, all while I’m holding it and it’s ticking,” Cybulski said.
Once in a safer spot, they stopped the van, put the device on the ground and called the bomb squad.
“I was nervous. I was nervous,” Cybulski said.
“We both said our prayers,” Armani said. “We thought, ‘This is it, you know, we’re not gonna make it.’ But I’m happy I’m not gonna — no one is gonna get hurt.”
Police later determined the device was a hoax made out of a battery-powered lantern, a wax candle wrapped in tin foil and a white cloth.
The suspect, identified as 52-year-old Hector Meneses, was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff with police. He was later charged with false-bombing and false-reporting.
On Wednesday, Suffolk County honored the officers for their bravery on a day both men will never forget.