Investigators Looking For Leads In New York City Explosion

Sep 18, 2016
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You surely know by now that there were three separate incidents across the country yesterday that at least raised concerns about terrorism. We'll touch on all of them. We'll start in New York City. Authorities there are searching for the person or people who planted a bomb that injured 29 people. All of the injured received treatment and have been released from the hospital. Investigators are closely examining the site of the explosion and are also looking at another bomb found a few blocks away that did not explode.

NPR's Jeff Brady is in New York and joins us. Jeff, what's the latest from investigators there?

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Well, the police and FBI, they're out talking with a bunch of people who live in the neighborhood where this happened and anyone else who might have seen something that provides some sort of clue of who was responsible for this. They're also collecting leads from a telephone hotline and chasing those down. They have video footage, surveillance tapes of the explosion itself that they're poring over for clues.

At a briefing this afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio made it clear that authorities are not going to release a lot of information right now. No suspect was announced. There's no confirmation that any groups or people have taken responsibility for this. And de Blasio said it's going to take a lot of work to find out what happened.

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BILL DE BLASIO: We're going to be very careful and patient to get to the full truth here. We are not going to jump to conclusions. We're not going to offer you easy answers. We're going to make sure we have all the facts.

BRADY: De Blasio says what they do know is that a bomb exploded. It appears to have been placed there intentionally. There's no evidence now that it's related to international terrorism, but he also pointed out that they are at the very beginning of this investigation and considering all the possibilities.

MARTIN: What about that other device that did not explode? Have investigators been able to learn anything from that?

BRADY: Mayor de Blasio says that device is being taken apart to see what investigators can learn. There could be some clues there. Bill Sweeney from the FBI said that evidence collected is being taken to his agency's lab in Quantico, Va. And New York Governor Mario Cuomo said in an interview with NY1 that the bomb that exploded in the neighborhood and the one that didn't explode, they were pressure cookers and that they were made into bombs. So a little bit of detail there. But again, they warn that, you know, early information here and who knows where we're going to end up?

MARTIN: So there was another incident that I want to ask you about. It was a pipe bomb that exploded Saturday morning that was about 80 miles south of New York in Seaside Park, N.J. Do investigators think that there is a link between these two events?

BRADY: Not really. That pipe bomb, it was exploded before a charity run got underway and no one was injured in that incident. But, you know, when you have these two things close together, of course you want to look at them. And investigators say they're going to consider that possibility. But Governor Cuomo says the information he's getting is that these were two very different types of bombs, a pipe bomb versus a pressure cooker bomb. So that kind of adds to the evidence that the two probably are not connected.

MARTIN: Jeff, before we let you go, I think you, of course, New Yorkers, the rest of the country all marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks last weekend. Now this - how are people reacting to this? What's the mood there?

BRADY: I walked around this afternoon, and it didn't feel much different to me. There were plenty of people out, lots of tourists, as you'd expect on a Sunday afternoon. And I just didn't get a sense that a lot of people were changing their plans because of this. In fact, some people wanted to be out, you know, to show that they weren't scared into staying home.

And note, tomorrow there's going to be a lot of security all over the city. About 1,000 state police troopers and National Guard soldiers will be patrolling the city along with the police already here. And the world leaders are going to be coming in, including President Obama, because the United Nations General Assembly is happening this week. So a lot of security in New York.

MARTIN: Well, always a heavy security presence for the UN General Assembly. That's NPR's Jeff Brady joining us from New York. Jeff, thank you.

BRADY: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.