(NEW YORK) — Two New York Police Department officers are being hailed as heroes after a hoax bomb device was thrown at their vehicle in Times Square late Wednesday night. The officer and sergeant — who at the time did not know if the device was a hoax — held onto it and immediately sped away from the packed tourist area.
“We were scared, we thought we were gone,” Officer Peter Cybulski said Thursday morning at a news conference. “But we weren’t going to put others in danger.”
When the suspicious package landed on the vehicle’s dashboard, Cybulski turned to Sgt. Hameed Armani and said, “Boss, this is a bomb,” Armani recalled.
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“I looked around, saw a lot of kids, a lot of young people,” said Armani, who emigrated from Afghanistan to the U.S. 10 years ago.
“We’re gonna go, but I’m not gonna have anybody else go with us,” Armani said.
Cybulski was holding the device in his hands as they drove “as fast as possible” to a secluded location.
“If it happens it happens, but I’m not gonna stop here,” Armani said.
After Cybulski and Armani drove a block and a half away from Times Square, they put the package on the sidewalk.
It turned out to be a red candle and a battery-operated lantern wrapped in tin foil. The object was covered in a white shirt.
“We come to work … quite literally not knowing what’s going to be thrown at us,” said Cybulski, a 3-year veteran of the NYPD. “We’re not gonna let this take out someone else with us.”
“I was happy no one got hurt,” Armani said. “My job is safety.”
The man suspected of throwing the suspicious package was taken into custody Thursday morning at Columbus Circle, about 10 blocks north of Times Square, after a standoff with police from inside his van.
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