The FBI and NYPD arrested a man whom they suspected of plotting a potential deadly attack on Times Square in New York City.
Here’s what we know
At this point, there is very little public information about the incident, but unnamed sources with the NYPD told WCBS-TV a man had been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of both the FBI and NYPD after he “expressed interest” in purchasing explosives, including grenades. He was allegedly planning to use these explosives in Times Square.
While it’s not clear when he planned to carry out this attack, on New Year’s Eve Times Square holds anywhere from 120,000 (a number estimated by a mathematician) to 2 million (according to Mayor Bill de Blasio) people at one time. Even on an average day, roughly 380,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square.
The suspect was reportedly captured during an undercover sting when he tried to purchase guns without serial numbers on Thursday. In addition to the grenades, he had reportedly wanted to obtain a suicide vest and guns, according to an unnamed senior law enforcement official who spoke with WNBC-TV. According to this source, the suspect had initially considered targeting politicians in both New York City and Washington, D.C., but eventually decided to focus on Times Square instead.
ABC News reported that the man first appeared on law enforcement’s radar when he tried to find out how to get grenades. According to NBC News, he had already taken video of Times Square to help him plan how he would carry out the attack.
On Friday, the terror suspect will appear in federal court in Brooklyn. His name has not been released, but WNBC reported that he was from Queens. Authorities believe he was acting alone.