The explosion, which happened around 7:30 a.m. in a passageway under 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues, triggered a massive emergency response by the NYPD and FDNY both above and below ground, tangling subway and bus service. Authorities described it as a terror-related incident.
The suspect has been identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, who is from Bangladesh and has been in the country for seven years. Authorities say he entered the US on an F4 visa, a family-based visa, and lived at an address in Brooklyn. The FBI is now searching several locations in the borough.
The pipe bomb was assembled in the suspect’s apartment, officials said, in an attack he is believed to have been planning for a year.
Ullah was severely injured in the apparent suicide bombing attempt, and he was taken into custody at the scene and transported to Bellevue Hospital.
A Taxi and Limousine Commission press release stated:
“[TLC] can confirm that the individual held a TLC For-Hire Vehicle Driver’s License from March 2012 through March 2015, at which time it lapsed and was not renewed. As taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers are independent contractors and not employees, I unfortunately have no way of knowing whether he drove for any particular base, or whether he simply got the license but didn’t drive at all. That said, since he held an FHV license, if in fact he did drive, we do know that it could not have been a yellow taxi.”
REMARKS AS DELIVERED BY POLICE COMMISSIONER JAMES P. O’NEILL
“At approximately 0720 hours, in a below ground walkway (IND line & 42nd Street & 8th Ave) connects the Port Authority bus terminal to the NYC IRT 42nd & 7th Avenue Shuttle at Times Square, police were called to a reported explosion, responding units found an injured 27-year-old male with burns and wounds to his body.
“Investigation at the scene indicates that this male was wearing an improvised explosive device attached to his body. This device was intentionally detonated by the subject. Two other people in the immediate area also sustained minor injuries. The subject was placed in custody and transported to Bellevue Hospital.
“Immediate police response to the scene included members of the Transit Bureau, Emergency Service Division, Bomb Squad, Counterterrorism Personnel, MTA Police, State Troopers and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In addition, the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group and Critical Response Command were assigned to other key transportation hubs and other locations throughout the city as a precautionary measure.
“This incident was captured on transit system video. A further review and interview of witnesses is underway. A thorough background investigation into Akayed Ullah is being conducted by the JTTF. We are asking anyone who may have any information about this individual or incident, call Terror Hotline at 888-NYC-SAFE.”