Two New York City police officers are being hailed as heroes after they drove away what appeared to be a bomb from Times Square Wednesday night, police said.
An unidentified man threw the device from his passing SUV onto the dashboard of the police car of Sgt. Hameed Armani and Officer Peter Cybulski. Times Square was still crowded and the officers were forced to make a decision.
“We knew what each other was thinking. We weren’t going to let anything happen in Times Square,” Cybulski said at a Thursday morning press conference.
The two men chose to drive nearly two blocks away with the bomb on their dash, and sacrifice themselves instead of putting other lives at risk. They found an uncrowded street and were able to put the device on the sidewalk.
“We both said our prayers,” said Armani, a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan. “We thought this was it, we’re not going to make it.”
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called the men “heroes of this department, heroes of this city” in a Thursday press conference.
“They put their own lives at risk so that they could save potentially hundreds if not thousands of people in Times Square,” Bratton said.
Bomb experts determined the device was actually a candle, an electrical component and flashing red lights. But video of the incident led police to arrest 52-year-old Hector Meneses after a standoff during Thursday morning rush hour when Meneses told police he had a bomb strapped to his chest and wanted to die.
The standoff lasted hours before Meneses finally surrendered. The motive is still unknown.
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