NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Port Authority police officers who took down a suspected terrorist when a bomb detonated inside a packed subway tunnel continued to serve the community at a toy drive in Newark.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, the officers played Santa’s helpers Saturday morning, just days after being American heroes and apprehending alleged bomber 27-year-old Akayed Ullah when he detonated a homemade explosive device in a pedestrian walkway under the Port Authority Bus Terminal during the height of Monday morning’s commute.
“I’m very glad to be alive, and I’m very glad no one died that day,” Officer Jack Collins said.
“We’re just lucky, we’re just cops that are very lucky,” said Officer Sean Gallagher.
That humility and selflessness are just in their blood, Roy reported. Despite fears Ullah may have had a second device, Officers Collins, Gallagher, Drew Preston and Anthony Manfredini zeroed in, arresting him on the spot.
“It was a very tight situation, it was very tense. I know we’re all feeling a lot of things. I know I was,” Collins said. “We did the same job that every cop does every day when they get up to go to work. We just happened to be there.”
The officers didn’t want to talk specifics, instead focusing on what they do best – serving the community.
They handed out 1,000 toys to needy families in Newark, in collaboration with New Jersey State Police and the National Action Network.
“We’re just happy to be out here, giving back to the community,” said Preston. “We’re all happy to be alive.”
“I give them all the credit in the world. They had really no time at all, a split second to make a decision, and they made a decision to jump on that person and stop him from doing anything further,” Port Authority Police Officer Bobby Paulsen said. “They did what they needed to do, and I think it’s amazing.”
They put smiles on little ones’ faces.
“Christmas is the best holiday in the whole wide world,” one boy said.
“I was feeling happy,” another added.
This was their first-ever toy drive and organizers say they hope to make it an annual holiday event.