May 2nd, 2010
07:39 AM ET

How the Times Square incident unfolded

– At 6:28 p.m. Saturday, a New York Police Department surveillance camera caught a dark green sport utility vehicle going west on 45th Street.

– About 6:30 p.m., a T-shirt vendor - a Vietnam veteran - noticed an unoccupied SUV on 45th Street, just off 7th Avenue. The vendor alerted New York Police Officer Wayne Rhatigan.

Rhatigan saw a Nissan Pathfinder with its engine running and its lights flashing. He noticed smoke coming from the backseat and smelled gunpowder.

– "I told my friend, 'Yo yo look at this!' I mean it looks like fireworks inside," said Hamid Boubaln, another street vendor. "I don't know; it's hard to explain. After that, like 15 minutes later, the smoke came out.

And one of the officers came and he started kicking everybody from the corner for safety."

– Officers immediately evacuated the area - from 43rd and 47th, between 6th and 8th avenues. The south tower of the Marriott Marquis hotel was also evacuated.

– "They told us to go straight to 47th street," said Pamela Hall, who was at a McDonald's when a police officer told her to pick up her food and leave. "Nobody was frightened. The cops weren't upset and the people were not noticeably upset. We were all just perplexed. We just went to 47th street and ended up taking pictures and watching."

– Firefighters, emergency medical personnel and the bomb squad descended on the scene.

– The bomb squad confirmed that the vehicle did "indeed contain an explosive device," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

– Inside the Nissan Pathfinder, police found three propane tanks, two filled five-gallon gasoline containers, two clocks with batteries, consumer-grade fireworks. The wiring around the device looked "amateurish," the
mayor said. Also inside was a locked metal box that resembled a gun locker.

– The vehicle's VIN number had been removed. The Pathfinder's license plate was taken from another truck.

– Police heightened security in other boroughs but nothing suspicious was reported anywhere else.

– About 10:45 p.m., President Barack Obama was updated on the situation and said the federal government was prepared to provide support.

– Two federal officials said Sunday it was too early to tell whether the incident involved al Qaeda or another international terror group. The national threat level remained at "Yellow," or elevated.

– Shortly before 3 a.m., a robot from the city police department's bomb squad smashed through the back window of the SUV and retrieved the box. It was taken to a bomb squad facility in the Bronx.

– The forensics on the bomb component will take time and are complex, a federal law enforcement official said. But, the official said, "the scientists can do wonders."

– "We avoided what could have been a very deadly event," Bloomberg said. "It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact."

– Shortly before 6 a.m., the Pathfinder was loaded on to the back of a flatbed truck, covered with a yellow tarp and towed away, apparently to the Bronx facility.

– Police will comb through surveillance camera footage to determine who left the Pathfinder. Authorities may also appeal to the public to provide personal photos taken at the time, a federal law enforcement official said.

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Filed under: Times Square Car Bomb
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. SPO101

    The Concerned Citizens, I know, have had it and can’t take NO MORE! 2010 has been the year of “what the #*~/” Are you kidding me? Every problem the USA is now facing can be traced back to the LOW GRADE THOUGHT PROCESSES of Bush/Cheney and the Republican controlled Congress of 1994-2006. The money pit WARS, ruined economy, Wall Street fraud, the oil spill in the Gulf, on & on &….

    The maddening part of this phenomenon is that Republicans/Conservatives either refuse or don’t possess the capacity to ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG! These right-wing hypocrites avoid accountability like the plague and dance around any issue like they were Morning Joe Scarborough… lol

    I ask you, why is it that every other civilized nation on the planet, EXCEPT the USA, REQUIRES Oil drilling operations to have back up plans and top shelf shut off valves in case of emergency? I guess British Petroleum thought $500,000 was TOO MUCH for a workable shut off system. I know they LOBBIED in 2003 against the US government putting such REGULATION into place… You Big Oil m#*~/’s should be strung up! Talk about TERRORISTS!
    aaaaaggggggghhhhh!
    Before I could take the first sip of coffee I heard the news about the car bomb in Times Square. HEY, I’ve got family in NYC… This is BS! Just from what the breaking newscasts are telling… I’m thinking this is another case of Conservative Wacko Terrorism! Even if it is a case of that Middle Eastern, Islamic fanatic cult I’ve had it with ALL you extremist, Fundamentalist degenerates…
    aaagggggghhhh!
    Ok, you lunatics want to cause TERROR? We’ll give you a reason to be afraid. I know a coalition of Italian-American and Native-American WARRIORS that are getting together to fight against these LOW GRADE THOUGHT PROCESSES! Here’s what’s going to happen if you vicious idiots cause terrorist act on US soil.

    I think we’ll call it “Operation Swordfish”. We’ll find out who was involved with ANY terrorist act and then come after YOU… If we can’t get to YOU then we’ll find your parents, husbands/wives, children, cousins, aunts/uncles, etc… You want pain and suffering then that’s what you’ll get. Imagine you or your loved ones getting, dipped in pigs blood then slowly chopped up into little pieces, ground into sausage patties and fed to the homeless… (imagine)

    COME ON @$$holes… bet, check or GO AWAY!
    consciousmc.blogspot.com

    May 2, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • crl

      I hope you are for real! We need "Red Dawn" too many bleeding hearts ruining our country...too busy being politically correct..they are incorrect.

      July 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. micky

    On a beautiful Saturday night we went to see a Broadway show. The theater is a half block away from where the SUV was found. Regardless of the police activity we went to see the show and enjoyed it. To the persons who staged the FAILED bombing. You are in this great country. You are on OUR soil. You will never destroy our spirit and our lives. Instead of growing beauty and bring joy you chose a dark path that will be condemned by your people and by your God.

    May 2, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. eslaporte

    Here in America – we don't punish groups (right-wing Americans, Tea Party or Muslims), but people – individuals – that commit violet acts and terrorism!

    Because we don't know right now "who" did this - this should be the time to reflect on this idea of our free society based on the rule of law.

    Who even did this – for what ever reason – is dangerous and needs to be put away!

    May 2, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. geewhiz

    This is to Micky: I'm happy that you enjoyed your Broadway show, while a 1/2 block away a car bomb was set (but failed) to go off. If it had, you would not be posting your comment because you would be dead.

    I was under the impression that all the Broadway shows were cancelled, but apparently the threat of several blocks being taking out by a car bomb did not deter the owners of your theatre from making their profit for the night.

    Did you have kids with you last night? I'm sure they appreciated being put in harms' way so you could enjoy your night out.

    So sad.

    May 2, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. kaliton

    And why are we not in a higher threat level? It was a "potential terror attack". Oh I know why, the president is off duty for the weekend like he was on the christmas terror incident.

    May 2, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eve

    I was there with my daughter and her friend, stopping off at the vendor selling the t-shirts who called 911. The police and emergency personnel did an excellent job of evacuating everyone without causing panic. I immediately realized the danger, just by the level of tones the police used and got both girls out of the area. Thank you for keeping us safe. I have read the other posts, and do realize if it wasn't for the malfunction, I would not be writing this now. Divine intervention.

    May 2, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tim

    Kaliton:

    The Threat level IS elevated... it's at 'Yellow'.

    May 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. California Conservative

    Excuse me, but the President remained at the White House Correspondent's Dinner while no one knew for certain if this was an isolated incident or a possible multiple terror threat???? He laughed and joked through several hours while the Times Square area was being cleared out and a possible car bomb dismantled??? It says the President was "updated" at 10:45 pm. I want to know when he was first informed and how, in good conscience, he wasn't whisked away to safety, just in case......

    George Bush got crucified by the press for remaining in a classroom for 7 minutes on the morning of 9/11 after someone notified him that we were "under attack".

    No one is saying a word about this! Talk about a slanted media!

    May 4, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    I'm hearing you California Conservative... You're right... it's complete BS. Turned out it was a failed attempt...but what if it had not?

    OPERATION SWORDFISH

    SPO 101 ... I want to join up on that outfit.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    @ Eve... That's exactly what that was. God Bless!

    May 4, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. California Conservative

    AND.....this idiot that was going to explode the bomb was under "heavy surveillance" by the FBI and NYPD but now we are finding out that a "glitch" in the no-fly system allowed him to board a plane bound for Dubai??? Are you kidding me?? If I were a passenger on that flight I would be calling my lawyer! I'd be citing severe personal trauma! I already hate flying – do you think something like this makes those of us who are afraid to fly feel any less afraid to do so?? Good God!

    May 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. paper shredders

    Hi,
    I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great work. .

    July 8, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |