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Man arrested after six-hour police stand-off in New York City

Published 21/07/2016

Police block off several streets near Columbus Circle, New York City (AP)
Police block off several streets near Columbus Circle, New York City (AP)

A man suspected of throwing a hoax bomb through the open window of a police car in New York's Times Square has been taken into custody after an overnight stand-off.

The incident began when a person in a passing vehicle threw a cylindrical object into the police car on Wednesday night. The object turned out to include a candle and a harmless electrical component.

New York Police Department chief James O'Neill said officers spotted the suspect's vehicle at around 2am local time at Columbus Circle and pulled it over. The driver refused to get out and donned a red plastic helmet.

SWAT officers were then called to the scene.

Surrounding streets were closed and subway trains bypassed the area, which is at the south west corner of Central Park and home to the Time Warner Centre and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

The stand-off ended at around 8am after police sent a robot to check the suspect's vehicle.

Two officers were in the marked vehicle when the device was tossed inside, police said. They drove to a less-crowded area, placed the device on the pavement, got out and took cover. The bomb squad gave the all-clear a short time later.

There are no reports of any injuries linked to the incident.

AP

The two officers have been hailed as " heroes of the NYPD, heroes of New York City" by police commissioner William Bratton.

Sgt Hameed Armani, who was driving the vehicle, said he made a quick decision when the object came through the window.

"I look around, saw a lot of kids, a lot of young people," he said. "We both look at each other and I go, 'We're going to go, but I'm not going to have anyone else go with us'."

His partner, officer Peter Cybulski, said he was "nervous" as Sgt Armani drove to a less crowded spot.

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From Belfast Telegraph