News by VICE

What we know about the explosion near Times Square

by Alexa Liautaud
Dec 11 2017, 7:14am

A 27-year-old man exploded a pipe bomb in an underground subway passageway near New York City’s Times Square Monday morning, disrupting thousands of commuters starting their day.

New York City police responded to reports of the explosion around 7:30 a.m. The A, C, E subway lines were all evacuated and subways bypassed Times Square and Port Authority stations to allow police to conduct a sweep.

The suspect was named as Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi man who has lived in the U.S. for seven years, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. Ullah, a Brooklyn resident, strapped the device to himself using Velcro and zip ties, according to O’Neill. Motive and ties to terrorist organizations are still unclear.

Five people sustained injuries from the explosion, according to the NYPD, including the suspect who was seriously injured and sustained burns and lacerations. He was transported to Bellevue Hospital.

Four other bystanders suffered minor injuries, like headaches and ringing in the ears, officials said.

Police raided Ullah’s home in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn several hours a later. A neighbor who lives across the street described the raid, which took place at about 10:30 a.m., to VICE News.

“As I was walking to the subway down East 2nd St., we saw a huge group of cops — about 20, almost all plainclothes,” said Andrew Gustafson, 35, who runs a tour company. “Two big NYPD trucks were parked in the street. Three or four officers in riot gear were knocking on the door to an apartment building.”

“The cops were shouting something about opening the back door,” Gustafson said. “Although the cops were in riot gear with shields and assault rifles, it didn’t seem that tense. Things seemed pretty calm and under control.”

Gustafson said there are several Bangladeshi families living on the block. Windsor Terrace is near Kensington, a neighborhood with a large Bangladeshi community, according to an Asian American Federation census.

“I’m really saddened by this whole incident and glad everyone is okay,” he said. “But this doesn’t in any way reflect this community.

Back at the Port Authority, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack a “an attempted terrorist attack,” and said there were no other credible threats to New York City at this time.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also addressed reporters, urging New Yorkers to “see something, say something.”

“This is New York, the reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom,” said Cuomo.

“Let’s get back to work,” he added.

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.