NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five years ago today, Faisal Shahzad tried to set off a bomb in Times Square.
Duane Johnson, a street vendor, saw smoke coming from the back of an SUV at 45th Street and Broadway and called police.READ MORE: New York State Assembly Gives Cuomo 1 Week To Defend Himself In Sexual Harassment Investigation
“My first reaction was ‘Who the hell would park this car here, and where is he? Did he run into the bank or whatever?'” Johnson told 1010 WINS. “Fortunately one of the local beat cops from Midtown South had just walked by. He came back and asked me where was the driver. I said I didn’t know, and we were both staring inside the car when the first fuse went off.”
The bomb squad was able to defuse the device.READ MORE: 2 MTA Bus Passengers Struck By Stray Bullet When Gunfire Erupts In Queens
“We dodged a bullet that day, because had he had it connected correctly, when the officer and I were standing at the door, it could’ve blown up then,” Johnson said.
Shahzad was caught days later at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he tried to leave the country.MORE NEWS: Pressure Builds On President Biden's Administration To Loosen International Travel Ban Into The Country
Shahzad, an American citizen, pleaded guilty to ten counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.