EWING TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A pair of New Jersey state troopers were honored Thursday for their actions during a terrorist attack.
Detective Sgt. James Abbes and Detective Stephen Christinzio successfully deactivated two improvised explosive devices after a pipe bomb had already exploded along the route of a Marine Corps race in Seaside Heights in 2016.
Christinzio said it was like second nature.
“We just jumped right in. We knew what we had to do, how we were going to go about it and completed the task,” Christinzio said, adding that he was simply doing his job. “It’s not something when we go out and do the job that we expect to get rewarded for.”
But New Jersey State Police Col. Pat Callahan said the troopers went above and beyond the call of duty.
“I know if you talk to them they’ll probably say, ‘We were just doing our job,’ and they weren’t,” Callahan said. “They were trained for this, but having that suit on doesn’t mean that you’re going to be completely free from any type of harm or any type of danger.”
Abbes was happy his training came in handy.
“I said, ‘Hey, I’ve seen something like this.’ Again it was training, it wasn’t hazardous the last time, this time it was, but we went through all the steps and it turned out to be a smooth job,” he said. “It gets sometimes frustrating to do all the training and not be able to use it and it was satisfying to be able to use it. It was very satisfying that nobody got injured.”
Both received the 2017 Trooper of the Year Award from the New Jersey State Police.
“Having the ability to put that suit on, approach those devices, render them safe I think that’s what set them a little bit apart from the other troopers that were in the running this year,” Callahan said.
But Abbes and Christinzio said the biggest reward was seeing the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, sentenced this month to multiple life terms in prison.
No one was in jured in the Seaside Heights attack. Hours after that bomb went off, prosecutors said Rahimi detonated a pressure cooker bomb in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 30 people.