If it bleeds, it leads. If it makes cops look good, you bury it. Hope it goes away. That’s exactly what’s happened with this story of two of the bravest police officers I’ve ever read about.
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A device landed in Sgt. Hameed Armani New York police car Wednesday, and his first thought was that he was about to die. The object that had been thrown through his cruiser’s window was clicking, and a red light was flashing. It had all the earmarks of a hollywood bomb.
“Boss, this is a bomb,” his partner, Officer Peter Cybulski, said. He was sitting beside–riding shotgun.
Any normal human being would have exited the car, and ran as fast as they could away from the coming explosion. Not these two. They were in Times Square, in New York City and the place was packed with people. They knew that if the car exploded, it would kill innocent people.
“We both look at each other. I was like, ‘We’re going to go, but I’m not going to have anybody else go with us,'” the sergeant said.
So they drove. Knowing full well that they may well die, they drove away from the crowd and into a secluded area.
“We both said our prayers,” said Armani. Ironically, Armani is a Muslim who immigrated to America from Afghanistan. “We thought this was it, we’re not going to make it.”
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that this kind of bravery represents “the best of the finest.”
“They put their own lives at risk so that they could save potentially hundreds if not thousands of people in Times Square,” Bratton said. These two officers are “heroes of this department, heroes of this city.”
After they’d gotten the car safely away from the crowds, and still hadn’t died, the two officers examined the bomb. It was a hoax– cylinder holding a candle, an electrical mechanism and flashing red lights.It was clearly meant to look like a bomb, but couldn’t actually explode.
On Thursday the police located the man suspected of throwing the hoax into the police car. 52-year-old Hector Meneses. He wouldn’t get out of his SUV, and told officers he had a bomb strapped to his chest and wanted to die.
Then, for unknown reasons, Meneses donned a red helmet. After several hours of blocked freeways and hostage negotiations, the cops were able to pull Meneses from the car. They strapped him to a stretcher and took him away for psychological evaluation.