Bloomberg: Boston bombers' next target was Times Square
UPDATED 8:28 p.m.: The Boston Marathon bombing suspects wanted to drive to Manhattan and detonate six explosives in Times Square and were thwarted when their stolen SUV ran low on gas.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told FBI interrogators in his Boston hospital room that he and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, in the aftermath of the bombings that killed three and wounded 260, intended to drive to New York City to detonate five pipe bombs and one pressure cooker bomb, similar to the two set off during the marathon, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
With the driver’s escape, the brothers’ goal to drive to New York City “fell apart when they became low on gas, ordered the driver to stop at a gas station, and he fled and called police,” Kelly said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the FBI told city officials on Wednesday night of the suspects' plans and reassured New Yorkers that the city's first responders would have prevented any attack.
“One thing is for sure, they would have seen an enormous police presence,“ Bloomberg said at a news conference Kelly.
Kelly said the pair had six explosive devices: one pressure-cooker bomb and five pipe bombs.
The marathon bombing suspects’ plan fizzled when they became involved in a shootout with police after hijacking a car in suburban Boston, Kelly said.
Tourists not afraid
Tourists who were checking out the sights and sounds of Times Square on Thursday said the new developments in the case didn’t scare them because terror alerts are part of the norm.
“You can't let stuff like that stop you from doing what you want to do. It doesn't frighten me,” said Leanne Hathaway, 25, who traveled to New York from Banbury, England.
New Yorkers who work in the Times Square area, like Ernest Herbert, 49, a cook at Jekyll & Hyde Club Restaurant Bar, said they agree with the mayor's confidence in security.
"There's no where you can go in Times Square without being seen. There's so much surveillance,” he said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev first told the FBI he and Tamerlan were going to head to New York after they killed the MIT police officer in order to “party” in the city, hence their demand that the carjack victim withdraw money from an ATM to fund their trip.
The source said the Times Square plan “was aspirational rather than operational.” Those statements contributed to the FBI’s spreading out in the metropolitan area.