NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, September 18, 2016, 1:34 PM
New Yorkers will have to “stay vigilant” over the next few days while the NYPD and federal law enforcement agencies search for answers about the bomb that exploded on a busy Manhattan street, Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.
Appearing alongside Police Commissioner James O’Neill and federal investigators, de Blasio said the massive blast that rocked 23rd St. in Chelsea Saturday night was definitely a bomb — but he stopped short of labeling it the work of terrorists.
“We are working very, very closely with the FBI to determine exactly what happened here,” the mayor said.
“We are not going to jump to conclusions,” he added.
The mayor said New Yorkers will see a noticeably beefed up police presence all around the city — and especially in the public transportation system.
But he urged people to go about their regular business, even as he stressed the need for the public to keep its collective eyes and ears open.
Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo stand in front of a mangled dumpster while touring the site of an explosion that occurred on Saturday night in Chelsea.
“People are smart enough to figure out to be vigilant and call in anything we need to know,” de Blasio said.
He said it was too soon to say if the bombings were a terrorist act.
“It was intentional, it was a violent act, it was certainly a criminal act, it was a bombing. That’s what we know,” he said.
“Was it a political act … we don’t know yet. …We will keep the public informed as we get real factual information,” he said.
The bomb that exploded on busy W. 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves. at 8:30 p.m. was similar in nature to a second device found on W. 27th St. three hours later, investigators said.
The second device, a pressure cooker with wires and a cell phone attached to it, was found in a white garbage bag by two former NYPD officers who now work as state troopers.
Twenty-nine people were injured in the explosions — mainly by shrapnel that rained down.
All the injuries were minor and by Sunday those that had been hospitalized were released, officials said.
Neither device bore any resemblance to the pipe bomb that exploded earlier Saturday in New Jersey — or to the explosives that ripped off a young man’s foot in a gruesome incident in Central Park earlier this summer, officials said.
But investigators were still probing for possible connections, officials said.
New York City Police Department officers arrive to keep watch near the site of an explosion in Chelsea on Sunday.
(RASHID UMAR ABBASI/REUTERS)
Commissioner O’Neill said cops and investigators had recovered video from both scenes and continued to canvas for more surveillance footage from local businesses.
“This violent criminal act is going to be solved… Residents can rest assured that we’ll get to the bottom” of it, he said.
The FBI is also involved, said Bill Sweeney, assistant director of the agency’s New York office.
“We are following every viable lead,” he said.
Traffic and subways were still snarled around W. 23rd and W. 27th Sts., NYPD officials said.
Police, firefighters and emergency workers gather at the scene of the explosion.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Both streets were still cordoned off as active crime scenes. Sixth Ave. was also closed from W. 14th St. to W. 27th St.
Gov. Cuomo, who toured the scene earlier Sunday with Mayor de Blasio, said there was no evidence linking the explosion to international terrorism.
“The FBI has brought the evidence that they’ve collected from the site of the explosion as well as the bomb that did not detonate … to Quantico and they’ll be studying that,” the governor said.
He also directed the state police and National Guard to deploy an additional 1,000 uniformed officers to high-profile locations across the state.
The additional troops were deployed “out of an abundance of caution,” the governor’s office said.