Times Square, Columbus Circle Incident

Statement as delivered by Chief James O’Neill:

At around 11:30 pm last night at W46 Street and 7th Avenue in Time Square, a male in a gold colored SUV tossed an electric devise into the window of a marked NYPD van which was occupied by a uniformed Sergeant and a Police Office. The SUV then fled the scene. The Sergeant immediately drove the van approximately one block in order to leave the proximity of Time Square, which was crowded. At 6th Avenue, the Sergeant was able to remove the devise which consisted of a candle, a cylindrical object and an electric component with a flashing red light. These items were wrapped in a white cloth. The immediate area was secured and the items were later determined by the bomb squad to be an apparent hoax device. An alert was transmitted for the gold SUV. At around 2:10 am officers from the Midtown North precinct observed a vehicle matching the description, near Columbus Circle. Upon stopping the SUV a male driver was observed placing a red plastic helmet on his head. The male did not communicate with the officers who then called for backup. Currently emergency services and bomb squad personnel are on the scene, along with hostage negotiators, attempting to engage the suspect, who remained in his vehicle alone. At this point negotiations are continuing. The public is advised to avoid the area of Columbus Circle, which has been secured.

At 7:45 AM this morning a 52 year old male was taken into custody in connection with the vehicle barricade situation at Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan.

After deeming the vehicle to be safe, members of the Emergency Service Unit successfully extricated the male subject from his vehicle.

During the overnight hours attempts were made to engage the subject in conversation. There was limited verbal communication by the subject.

However, early-on in the negotiations, the subject stated that there were explosives in the vehicle.
A robot was used to provide audio and video links with the subject.
Initial video review of the interior of the vehicle noted what appeared to be a possible device.
In addition, the subject was observed opening a center console inside the vehicle. He kept one of his hands out of sight during much of the encounter.

After a bomb squad evaluation, the decision was made to extricate the subject. The male has been taken into custody. A comprehensive search of the vehicle is being conducted by the Bomb Squad and Crime Scene Unit. However, there is no indication at this time that any explosives are present.

This incident began at around 11:30 PM last night in Times Square, when the subject tossed a make-shift device into a marked police van, occupied by a uniformed Sergeant and a Police Officer. As the subject’s vehicle fled the scene the two officers immediately drove their van away from the immediate area of the Times Square promenade and then removed the device and secured it. It was subsequently deemed to be a “Hoax” device. The subject’s vehicle was later stopped here at Columbus Circle by officer from the Midtown North Precinct.