NEW YORK (AP) — An explosion rocked a crowded Manhattan neighborhood and injured 29 people, and a suspicious device discovered blocks away was safely removed early Sunday. Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out any terror connections but called the blast an “intentional act.”
“Tonight, New York City experienced a very bad incident,” de Blasio said at a news conference near the scene in Chelsea. “We have no credible and specific threat at this moment.”
De Blasio tried to calm any fears among nervous New Yorkers, saying the explosion had no terrorist connection and wasn’t related to a pipe bomb explosion earlier Saturday in New Jersey that forced the cancellation of a charity run.
“Now, I want to be clear: Whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated,” the mayor said. “We are not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives.”
It was unclear who was behind the blast and what motivated it.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that a second device that officers investigated four blocks from the scene appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a cellphone. The official, who was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the device was found inside a plastic bag on West 27th Street. The device was removed with a robot and taken to a department firing range in the Bronx.
The law enforcement official also said that the explosion that rocked a bustling Chelsea neighborhood appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building. Photos from the scene show a twisted and crumpled black metal box.
The blast happened on West 23rd Street, in front of a residence for the blind, near a major thoroughfare with many restaurants and a Trader Joe’s supermarket. Witnesses said the explosion at about 8:30 p.m. blew out the windows of businesses and scattered debris in the area. Officials said no evacuations were necessary.