Some streets in New York City’s heavily-populated Times Square — one of America’s busiest intersections — were closed and evacuated due to the discovery of what New York Police say was a car bomb.
Media reports are now just coming in, but MSNBC turned to live coverage as soon as the story broke. According to the latest, police have found what appears to be a timer. Tidbits on this story are starting to come in. CAUTIONARY NOTE: This is the kind of story where early reports may contain unconfirmed tidbits or foster assumptions that may prove to be incorrect later. Here are some highlights from media coverage so far:
The New York Police Department said on Saturday the incident that caused Times Square to be evacuated was what appeared to be a car bomb, which was being dismantled by officers on the scene.
“This appears to be a car bomb that the bomb squad is in the process of dismantling,” police spokesman Paul Browne said. “We do not know the motive.”
Browne said an NYPD mounted policeman spotted a box smoking in the back of the sport utility vehicle and that the area was evacuated shortly after that.
The incident in New York City’s Times Square that began with a suspicious vehicle appears to have developed into a real threat from a fire bomb, according to one official account.
All reports indicate the vehicle contained gasoline, propane and possibly gun powder. Incendiary devices are not explosive devices, but are lethal.
The incident began around 6:35 p.m., when the Fire Department of New York responded to a car fire in the vicinity of 45th Street and 7th Avenue, and because of suspicious characteristics of the vehicle, the police department ESU was notified.
The car was identified as a Land Rover with a Connecticut or unmatched license plate. The car is still unsafe to perform appropriate diagnostics on. It is being confirmed as an actual incendiary device.
Bomb techs from the FBI New York office were on scene with the NYPD Bomb Squad to aid in the investigation.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne told CNN that the shutdown began after a foot patrol officer passed by a Nissan Pathfinder with Connecticut plates on 45th Street between and 7th and 8th Avenues. Browne said the officer noticed a box inside the car with smoke coming out.
Browne said officials at the scene were using a robot to search inside the car. The police department’s public information office said the box and other items found in the search are not confirmed at this time to be a bomb.
The Marriott Marquee Hotel wasn’t allowing anyone to enter or leave the hotel Saturday night, and at least one nearby
A bomb in Times Square led to the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers from the area on a warm and busy Saturday evening, the police said.
There was no explosion.
“It appears to be a car bomb left in a Pathfinder between Seventh and Eighth,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.
The device, he said, contained “explosive elements” that included “propane tanks, some kind of powder, gasoline and a timing device.”
“This is very much an active investigation,” he said.
The device was discovered by a mounted police officer who saw a box with smoke pouring from it in the back of the Pathfinder, Mr. Browne said. The officer called for backup, and the Fire Department and bomb squad.
The Pathfinder’s back window was broken out, Mr. Browne said, and the police sent in a “robotic device” to “observe it.”
Police began evacuating Times Square, starting with businesses along Seventh Avenue, including a Foot Locker store and a McDonald’s restaurant.
It’s still very early, of course, and this could likely turn out to be some domestic nut with a bunch of crap in the back of his car.
At the same time, though, we’ve got the switched plates, and the guy fleeing the scene.
As they say……developing.
MSNBC just reported that the NYPD has blocked off six streets and three avenues.
A car pulled up to 45th just West of Seventh Avenue, the emergency blinkers went on, the driver left, and the car started to smoke. Nothing detonated, a bomb squad was called, and a controlled detonation was performed. Officials noted to the New York Times that they “did not know whether it was related to terrorism,” but Reuters sources told BNO News that “explosives, gasoline, propane and burned wires” were found in the the car, a Nissan Pathfinder.
Some relevant Tweets from CNN’s Nick Valencia:
# FBI spox says FBI is there as part of Joint Terrorism Task Force. Said situation is being taken seriously. Everything still being sorted out 24 minutes ago via web
# We’re waiting for an NYPD presser. Then we’ll all be on the same page. Midnight seems like an unlikely target… 29 minutes ago via web
# We are not breaking into programming at this point. 32 minutes ago via web
# @Misha44_ I didn’t get into journalism to be first. Better to be certain than have to retract. 34 minutes ago via web in reply to Misha44_
# We’re putting @susancandiotti on the story. Solid journalist with great sources in NYC. 39 minutes ago via web
# We have no confirmation of gun powder found at this point. 41 minutes ago via web
# I understand the urge to go forward, but until we know more we are proceeding with caution. 43 minutes ago via web
# NYC law enf source says police found propane cylinders, a gas can and other items. Cautions these could be items used by street vendors about 1 hour ago via web
A law enforcement official said bomb investigators found propane tanks, powder and an apparent timing device inside the vehicle.
The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorised to release the information.
Police evacuated several residential and commercial buildings and cleared several streets of thousands of tourists milling around on a warm Saturday night.
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Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.