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Timeline: Times Square Failed Bomb Attempt

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Below is a timeline of the events surrounding the failed bomb attempt in Times Square.

Saturday, May 1

6:28 p.m. A video surveillance camera shows a sport utility vehicle (SUV) entering West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.


A member of the police department points to a surveillance image of a dark SUV, pictured at right(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

6:30 p.m. A T-shirt vendor notifies a police officer that smoke is coming out of the back of a dark-colored Nissan Pathfinder on the southwestern corner of West 45th Street and Broadway.

6:33 p.m. The police officer circles the car on horseback and radios for help. Streets are closed and a perimeter is set up as people are told to clear out.


(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Sunday, May 2

2:20 a.m. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly hold a news conference two blocks from where the SUV was discovered to announce that a potentially lethal bomb was found in the vehicle. Bloomberg calls the bomb "amateurish."


Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks with NYPD officer Wayne Rhatigan (R), the officer being hailed as a hero in the car bomb incident in Times Square.

7:30 a.m. Police reopen all streets to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

That day, New York police examine a gun locker discovered inside the vehicle. The metal storage cabinet weighs roughly 200 pounds, and investigators suspect it could contain more powerful explosives.

A minute-long video allegedly released by the Pakistani Taliban says the Times Square attack was planned as revenge for the death of the group's leader and the recent killings of the top leaders of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Kelly and FBI Special Agent in charge George Venizelos holds a news conference to announce that a videotape of a possible suspect has been obtained. Further details on the propane and gas bomb are disclosed. Police say they've found a substance that resembled fertilizer in the parked SUV at the center of an investigation of a failed car bomb left in Times Square.

But the New York City police commissioner says there's no evidence of a Taliban link to yesterday's attempted car bombing in Times Square.

That afternoon President Barack Obama says the U.S. will do what it takes "at home and abroad" to protect the American people. Obama says the New York police and fire departments and the FBI responded quickly to a dangerous bomb scare in Times Square.

8:50 p.m. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there's no evidence the failed car bombing is linked to Al-Qaeda or any other large terrorist organization. New York City police say the contained fertilizer was incapable of exploding.

Monday, May 3

5:53 a.m. Investigators say they have identified the registered owner of the SUV found in Times Square with a bomb inside, but they're looking for a middle-aged man seen in a video taking off a black shirt. The New York surveillance video shows an unidentified white man in his 40s walking down Shubert alley.

8:55 a.m. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warns against "premature decisions one way or another," about any suspects in the Times Square car bomb incident. She tells NBC's "Today" that no one's been ruled out, including foreign terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg tells ABC there's a "high probability" that whoever did it will be captured.

New York City police have spoken to the registered owner of the Pathfinder that was left in Times Square. But they say the owner’s not a suspect. Police say the crude gasoline-and-propane bomb could have sprayed shrapnel and metal parts with enough force to kill pedestrians and knock out windows.

Authorities in New York are examining what they describe as "hundreds of hours" of security videotape from around Times Square in the aftermath of a failed car bombing. Meanwhile, the area has quickly bounced back -- and it has returned to its normal bustle on a rainy Monday morning.

2:59 p.m. President Barack Obama calls the Times Square vendors, Duane Jackson to commend him for alerting authorities to the smoking SUV. The president also called another vendor Lance Orton and the first officers on the scene Wayne Rhatigan and Pam Duffy to commend them for their work in quickly evacuating the area.

The registered owner of the SUV tells law enforcement officials that she sold the SUV for cash three weeks ago.

That evening law enforcement officials say that authorities know the identity of the buyer of the sport utility vehicle used in the botched bombing and he's considered a potential suspect. The man is said to be of Pakistani descent and recently traveled to Pakistan.

Midnight Close to midnight, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials arrest Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, at JFK International Airport as he was preparing to fly to Dubai, according to Attorney General Eric Holder. He is being held in New York.


An image of terror suspect Faisal Shahzad shown at a press conference with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, May 4

President Barack Obama is notified of Shahzad’s arrest and Attorney General Eric Holder says the investigation into the failed Times Square car bombing is "multifaceted." Authorities continue to pursue a number of leads.

The FBI says the public is safe following a search of Shahzad’s home. An FBI special agent says her team executed a search warrant at the Bridgeport home.

10:20 a.m. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says New York City "will not tolerate any bias" following his arrest. Bloomberg says that applies to potential backlash against Muslim New Yorkers and that there are "a few bad apples" among any groups.


Faisal Shahzad's home in Bridgeport, Conn.(Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

10:30 a.m. Court records reveal that the suspect defaulted on a $200,000 mortgage on his Connecticut home and that the property is in foreclosure. Law enforcement officials say Shahzad became a U.S. citizen in April 2009 and that he passed all the criminal and national security background checks required for citizenship.

1:20 p.m. At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad admitted to involvement in the incident and provided investigators with valuable information. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly praised law enforcement officials for their quick response, noting that it took just 53 hours from the time the SUV was found in Times Square until Shahzad's arrest at John F. Kennedy International Airport late Monday.

Shahzad has been charged with terrorism and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. Law enforcement officials say he confessed to involvement in the foiled bomb plot, and admitted to training in Pakistan.


This handout from the U.S. Department of Justice shows the positioning of charges in the Nissan Pathfinder allegedly driven by Faisal Shahzad and left in Times Square.

Wednesday, May 5


(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly tell lawmakers in Washington, D.C. that New York needs more anti-terror funding -- and tougher gun-control laws -- to guard against terror attempts. They testified before the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, and urged legislators to close what they call the "terror gap" by preventing anyone on the nation's terrorist watch list from buying guns or explosives.

The president of Phantom Fireworks, a fireworks store in Penn., says Shahzad bought consumer-grade M-88 fireworks. The presidents says the fireworks "wouldn't damage a watermelon." Shahzad was captured on surveillance video there.

U.S officials say that they’ve been unable to confirm whether Shahzad had indeed trained at a Pakistani terror camp, as he told the FBI after his arrest.

A spokesperson for the Pakistani army says he doubts that the Pakistani Taliban is behind the Times Square terrorist attempt. On Sunday, the group had claimed responsibility for the bomb plot.

For related stories on the Times Square Terror Plot, click here.

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