NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of Port Authority police officers are being hailed as heroes after they apprehended a man suspected of detonating a crude improvised device underground near the Port Authority Bus Terminal during the morning rush.
The homemade bomb prematurely exploded around 7:19 a.m. Monday in a pedestrian walkway near 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.
Four Port Authority police officers were the first on the scene.
When he spotted people running out of the passageway, Officer Anthony Manferdini started heading in. He was joined by fellow officers Jack Collins, Sean Gallagher and Drew Preston.
Bobby Egbert, spokesperson for the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, said when the officers arrived on the scene they saw 27-year-old Akayed Ullah on the ground with wires coming from his jacket to his hand and his midsection smoldering.
“The person on the floor was reaching for his cell phone. The officers at that point had to make a decision so no one else would be hurt and they decided at that point to take the person into custody,” Egbert told 1010 WINS. “There was a struggle with him, they had to keep him from reaching the cell phone, obviously they had no idea what he was going to do with the cell phone.”
Three of the officers have military background.
Gallagher is a former Marine, Preston was in the Army and did three tours in Iraq, Manferdini is a former Marine and bomb technician.
“You couldn’t have had better people on the scene,” Egbert said.
The officers also received praise from the White House.
“These brave first responders and others who rushed to the scene are heroes,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Ullah and five others were hurt in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called an “attempted terrorist attack.”
Ullah is in custody at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.