NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Disturbing new details emerged Thursday about a young Florida man who was caught with a loaded gun after allegedly he threatened to kill police officers at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, authorities said Hunter Taylor, 18, is also suspected of randomly firing into a crowd just last month.
Taylor faces several charges including illegal possession of a firearm, making a terroristic threat and unlawful possession of marijuana, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported. He was arraigned Thursday in Manhattan Criminal Court.
In court, Hunter’s attorney vehemently denied that he made the threat at all, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
At the busiest bus terminal in the world, where 250,000 people come in and out every day, reminders are posted – variations on the theme, “If you see something, say something.”
Around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said a homeless man saw Taylor with a loaded gun and did indeed say something to Port Authority officers.
“The presence of mind of the gentleman to come over to the police after the man showed him the gun and talked about offing police officers — he didn’t have to do that,” said Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association. “He could have walked away.”
Nunziato told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes that the homeless man has a moral compass that steered him in the right direction and could have saved as many as five officers.
The homeless man is identified as George Pugh, who stays at a shelter in Brooklyn. Pugh told police he struck up a conversation with Taylor at the bus terminal.
Taylor allegedly showed Pugh a Smith & Wesson revolver and asked if he wanted to help “off some cops.”
Instead, Pugh tipped off the cops, and Taylor was arrested.
Authorities said they obtained a warrant and searched Taylor’s bag, finding an illegal, loaded revolver along with a small clear bag of marijuana.
Meanwhile, a police report from Groveland, Florida — in the central part of the state west of Orlando — showed that just one month ago, Taylor was suspected of firing into a crowd of people fighting at a party. One teenager was injured.
It is believed that Taylor fled to New York shortly after the incident.
Nunziato believes Taylor represented a potentially deadly threat to officers.
“His intent according to what he said was to ‘off’ police officers. His intent was to murder police officers,” Nunziato said. “We’ve seen enough of that lately.”
Residents at the Samaritan Village homeless shelter where Pugh lives, on Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, were also hailing him as a hero.
“He’s a good dude,” one man said. “He’s a good; guy standup guy.”
Many outside the bus terminal Thursday were just glad the good Samaritan saw something and said something, possibly saving lives.
“That’s what a good citizen does, is to report when they see illogical things — guns, knives, any weapons,” said New Jersey resident Cookie Wozniak.
“I think when you threaten police you threaten all of us,” said Brooklyn resident Felix Perez.
Another homeless man said he knows good Samaritan Pugh.
“If he just helped save some people’s lives, he’s going to be blessed at the end,” said Lito Allen. “He’s going to be receiving a blessing from God for that.”
Nunziato said Port Authority police took Pugh out for dinner after he tipped them off, and will be doing what he can to get him back on his feet.