A veteran rises to the occasion all over again. On the other hand, as for Comedy Central, it is clear their act of cowardice did not protect anybody from those who are determined to attack. Will they respond with more censorship, or decide now is the time for the gloves to come off?
“3 cops, street vendor stop Times Square car bomb from detonating; Gas, clock found inside car,” by Allison Gendar, Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch, and Samuel Goldsmith for the New York Daily News, May 2:
Three heroic cops and a quick-thinking street vendor stopped a madman from detonating a car bomb in the heart of Times Square Saturday night, law enforcement officials told the Daily News.
The T-shirt vendor – a Vietnam vet – told Officer Wayne Rhatigan there was smoke coming from a Nissan SUV on the southwest corner of 45th St. and Broadway about 7 p.m., sources said.
Rhatigan approached the car, saw the smoke, and sprang into action.
“I did a lap around the vehicle. The inside was smoking,” Rhatigan told the Daily News Saturday night. “I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second.”
He grabbed two rookie female cops patrolling the area. Together, they pushed hundreds of people away from the scene as they called for backup, he said.
The Fire Department and bomb squad rushed to the scene.
What they found was stunning: a running SUV packed with three propane tanks, two red 5-gallon plastic jugs of gasoline, a clock, electrical components and a canister of gunpowder, police sources said.
“We are very lucky,” Mayor Bloomberg said at an early morning press conference at the scene, still wearing a tuxedo and red bow tie. “Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers we avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”
The two rookie cops reported seeing a man running away from the scene as they approached the car.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said cops were investigating a report that someone was seen running from the vehicle at some point and are reviewing security videotapes.
“It looks as if the perp was trying to light it up, and was interrupted by the cops, panicked and took off,” a law enforcement source said. [...]
Cops closed a huge chunk of Times Square from 43rd St. to 49th Sts. on Seventh Ave. and all of 45th St. from Seventh Ave. to Eighth Ave.
They were pulling video footage from a number of security cameras in the area.
Times Square had been jammed with pedestrians all day.
Celebrities Halle Berry, Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba and thousands of women ran through Times Square in the afternoon for the EIF Revlon Run/Walk, which raises money for research to fight ovarian cancer.
Now there’s a contrast of priorities.
“The death toll could have been enormous,” a police source said. “It was a nice day and the Times Square area was completely packed.”