What We Know So Far In NYC Subway Blast Authorities are investigating what led a suspect to take an explosive device into an underground passageway Monday. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to Kate Hinds, a reporter with member station WNYC.
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What We Know So Far In NYC Subway Blast

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What We Know So Far In NYC Subway Blast

What We Know So Far In NYC Subway Blast

What We Know So Far In NYC Subway Blast

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Authorities are investigating what led a suspect to take an explosive device into an underground passageway Monday. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to Kate Hinds, a reporter with member station WNYC.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo stood outside a New York City bus terminal and said today's rush-hour attack could've been worse.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREW CUOMO: When you hear about a bomb in the subway station, which is, in many ways, one of our worst nightmares - the reality turns out better than the initial expectation and fear.

INSKEEP: What happened was a man detonated a device underground in a crowded passage. But the most seriously injured person was himself. Joining us now is Kate Hinds. She's a reporter with member station WNYC in Manhattan. Good morning.

KATE HINDS, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: What was it like being in Manhattan this morning?

HINDS: It was a little surreal, especially when I got closer to Midtown. I wound up needing to use our city's bike-share program to get to the scene because the subway system was skipping 42nd Street, which is the largest subway station in the country.

INSKEEP: Yeah.

HINDS: So that was kind of surreal. As you - as I biked down 9th Avenue, you can hear the sirens. The helicopters are overhead - lights, you know, ambulances, police cars, all of the heavy, armored vehicles that the NYPD brings out for this. But New Yorkers mostly seemed relatively calm. You know, there's a lot of milling about and people taking pictures. But there was no panic by the time I got there.

INSKEEP: So police have a suspect. They give the name as Akayed Ullah. They say he's 27 years old, that he goes into this walkway of some kind and detonates a homemade, I guess, suicide vest with what looked like a low-tech pipe bomb held to the vest by Velcro and zip ties. What is that passageway like where that happened?

HINDS: Yeah. It's underground. It connects subway lines on 8th Avenue to subway lines on 7th Avenue. It's very heavily used. People that commute into the city at the - from the Port Authority Bus Terminal walk underneath there. And there is surveillance video sort of making the rounds on the Internet that shows what appears to be a, you know, camera pointing on this car door, which is kind of narrow and dense. And all of a sudden, there's this puff of smoke, and people move off to the side. And when the smoke clears, there's a man lying on the ground.

INSKEEP: And I guess we should mention, I think, it's not confirmed that that video is the correct video. But we've had a description by authorities that there is some kind of security video that looks something like that, right?

HINDS: Right. And they say they will be reviewing as many video options as possible.

INSKEEP: And, of course, this is a city that's had more and more security measures put in place since 9/11. How are people responding to this news of this attack?

HINDS: You know, in general, the people that I've spoken to seem to be shrugging their shoulders and saying, meh. The city, of course, has had a number of incidences that just this year alone - the attack on the bike path on Halloween and then an attack in Times Square aboveground where a driver drove up on the sidewalk and killed someone. But it's really jarring to have anything involving the subway system involved because it's the lifeblood of the city. Six million people a day ride it. So that seems to have a little bit of a different flavor.

INSKEEP: Like an attack on your circulatory system.

HINDS: Exactly.

INSKEEP: Kate Hinds, thanks so much.

HINDS: Thank you.

INSKEEP: She reports for WNYC. And she has been reporting on today's attack that left a man in a suicide vest severely injured and three other people in that pedestrian tunnel with somewhat lighter injuries.

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