MANHATTAN — A 28-year-old rookie member of the Port Authority Police Department was patrolling when he saw people running Monday morning, police sources said.
Officer Anthony Manfredini radioed for backup and was joined by Officers Drew Preston, Jack Collins and Sean Gallagher, police sources said. Officer Collins, a former lawyer, held Akayed Ullah at gunpoint. He usually spends his days looking for signs of children being trafficked in New York's transit systems.
Ullah allegedly strapped a pipe bomb to himself in an attempted terror attack in a subway tunnel beneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal during the morning commute. Several people were injured, including Ullah.
He was "fidgeting" around on the ground when the officers first spotted him, police sources said. The officers were worried he might try to detonate another device. Collins handcuffed him while Manfredini, Preston and Gallagher removed the device.
Manfredini, Preston and Gallagher all have military experience, police sources said. Officer Manfredini served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years and did bomb detection as part of a K-9 unit. Officer Gallagher is also a former Marine and Officer Preston is a 13-year U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“Thanks to the quick response of these brave Port Authority Police officers, the suspect was apprehended, there were no serious injuries and the PABT was secured without further incident,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “Our officers responded immediately and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public.”
The men were also praised by the White House.
“These brave first responders and others who rushed to the scene are heroes,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.