Following the Boston Marathon attack, the bombing suspects intended to detonate additional explosives in Times Square, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly today.
Kelly said that information gathered from surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had initially indicated that he and his older brother were coming to New York to “party.” Yet after further investigation, Dzhokhar said that the pair had discussed the “spontaneous” plan to explode their remaining bombs in Times Square.
“Ten days ago, our city and nation received a horrific reminder that we remain targets for terrorists. Immediately upon news of the explosions in Boston, we fully mobilized the New York City Police Department’s vast counterterrorism operations – because we thought there was a possibility that there could be a related attack here,” said Bloomberg. “We now know that that possibility was, in fact, all too real.
According to Kelly, the suspects discussed their plan while driving in a hijacked Mercedes SUV after they fatally shot an MIT police offer. Their plan ultimately feel apart when the brother realized that car was low on gas and when they stopped at a nearby gas station, the driver escaped and called the police. This led to the shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts were the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.
During the shootout, the suspects had “six improvised explosive devices” including a pressure cooker bomb and pipe bombs, said Kelly.
Dzhokar had been photographed with friends in Times Square “on or before April 18, 2012” and was later in New York in November.
“We don’t know if those visits were related in any way to what he described as the brothers’ spontaneous decision to target Times Square,” said Kelly.
Kelly said the NYPD Intelligence Division is “actively investigating to determine Dzhokar’s movement in New York City, as well as who he might have been with here.”
There is no evidence to indicate that New York City is currently a target of another terrorist attack “stemming” from the Boston bombings, said Kelly.
Even though Bloomberg said it cannot be known if the enormous police presence and extensive network of cameras in New York City would have been enough to stop the continuation of the terror, he is grateful the brothers were stopped in their tracks.
“We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists, had they arrived here from Boston, we’re just thankful we didn’t have to find out that answer,” said Bloomberg.