NYC mayor says explosion was ‘attempted terrorist attack’; suspect in custody

MANHATTAN – Authorities in say a suspect is in custody after an attempted terror attack in the heart of New York Monday.

The explosion involved a pipe "low-tech" explosive, police said.

New York police initially said the department responded to reports of an explosion of “unknown origin” at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, the location of a Port Authority bus terminal, WPIX reported. First responders found 27-year-old Akayed Ullah with burns on his body and said he'd intentionally detonated an improvised, low-tech explosive device. He was taken to an area hospital.

Three other people suffered minor injuries, according to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, including ringing in the ears and headaches. Nigro described the injuries as being consistent with someone who was in the area of an explosion. The blast disrupted train and bus service during the Monday morning commute.

City and state officials held a briefing Monday morning to discuss the attempted attack and the investigation.

“This is New York. The reality is that we are a target by many who are looking to make a statement against democracy, against freedom,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the briefing. “Anyone can go on the internet and download garbage and vileness on how to put together an amateur-level explosive device. That is the reality we live in.”

“Let’s get back to work,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to allow them to disrupt us. That’s exactly what they want.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised first responders for their quick action and called it an “attempted terrorist attack.”

“Now the mission of the NYPD is to secure all major transit hubs,” de Blasio said, adding that New Yorkers would notice increased police presence in the city Monday.

“We will wait for a fuller investigation…but at this point in time, all we know of is one individual who was, thank God, unsuccessful in his aims,” he said, renewing calls for people to contact police if they see something suspicious.

“You could be saving many lives by doing so,” de Blasio said.

One witness recalled hearing a pair of explosions while he was exiting a bus around 7:45 a.m.

"From what I saw it sounded like it came from the subway, but I'm just guessing," Francisco Ramirez told CNN. "It was two distinct explosions seconds from each other. As I was making my way toward the outside, I kept getting shoved by cops and there were cops at every entrance blocking and there was police and SWAT everywhere."

Ramirez said he distinctly heard the blasts through his headphones.

"It was scary. It was just a lot of chaos, but I didn't see any injuries," Ramirez said.