Akayed Ullah attempted to commit a terror attack on Monday, December 11th during the busiest commuter hours at at the Port Authority terminal near Times Square. Fortunately, police heroes were on hand when things went awry for Akayed. He was quickly seized by Officers Jack Collins, Anthony Manfredini, Sean Gallagher and Drew Preston. They’ve been hailed as heroes by everyone from daily commuters to the President of the United States, but they’ve not been able to publicly respond to the kudos, until now.
“We did the same job that every cop does every day when they get up to go to work,” said Collins, 45. “We just happened to be there, honestly. We did our job.”
On Saturday, the four were showing that they enrich lives, as well as save them. They were volunteers at a toy giveaway here. Last Monday, in a pedestrian passageway between the Port Authority transit center and the Times Square subway hub, they undoubtedly saved lives.
A split second after the explosion, Officer Anthony Manfredini, 28, a former U-S Marine bomb technician, ran toward the location from which everyone else was running away.
It was “pretty much training, to recognize stuff,” Manfredi said. The officers’ quick actions ensured that the partial explosion of Ullah’s pipe bomb didn’t have a repeat blast, which could have sent potentially lethal shrapnel flying.
Manfredini called for backup, and right away, his three fellow officers swooped in. They handcuffed the suspect so he couldn’t reach his phone. They knew that in many terror attacks, mobile phones are used as detonators. It’s bravery that President Donald Trump singled out in a statement on Monday. The men are thankful for it, but for so much more as well.
“I come from a law enforcement family, so I’m blessed for that,” said Officer Sean Gallagher, 26, whose parents were first responders on September 11th. “We’re just lucky. We’re just cops who got very lucky.”
Preston is a former U.S. Army soldier who’d served in the 82nd Airborne Division; Officers Gallagher and Manfredini are retired U.S. Marines. Collins is a former lawyer, who joined the Port Authority Police Dept. about a year-and-a-half before the 9/11 terror attack.
It’s tales like these that are hitting the headlines more and more often across the nation. Some of these attacks are stopped before action is taken, and are seldom reported. The fact is that our police are the frontline defense for our nation against domestic terrorism when attempts are carried out. They are first on the scene and willing to risk their lives to save ours against the ongoing threat of terrorism.
As we ring in the New Year, let’s think forward and ensure that we support our police across this nation. You never know, it could be you or I walking next to the next Akayed Ullah and the only person who can help us are the police heroes walking their beats day in and out.
Remember to join the APOA in supporting our police and donate in 2018. Your donations help ensure that police issues remain front and center at both the national and local levels. 2018 will be a hot election year, and support for our police is critical. We look forward to supporting candidates who support our police heroes.