Who First Called Attention to the Bomb-Filled SUV in Times Square? A Muslim

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Alioune Niass (screen capture: Democracy Now!)

Lance Orton and Duane Jackson, hailed as heroes by the New York media and President Barack Obama, were not the first ones to spot and call attention to the bomb-laden SUV parked in Times Square earlier this month. Even though Orton and Jackson have been the ones credited for alerting police, it was a Senegalese immigrant—and Muslim—who first noticed the smoke coming out of the vehicle.

Street vendor Alioune Niass spotted the suspicious-looking SUV because it was parked near his table from which he sells framed photographs of celebrities and New York City. Niass walked over to a phone booth on the corner to call 911 and pointed out to Orton what he saw.
Orton said there was no need call 911 and instead sent an assistant, Wayne Robinson, to alert a mounted officer, Wayne Rhatigan, who was stationed nearby on his horse, Miggs. Rhatigan rode over to the smoking car and immediately alerted other authorities and led the evacuation of the area.
It was the Times of London which first reported Niass’ role in preventing a disaster in Times Square.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Vendor vs. Vendor: Who Deserves Credit? (by Manny Fernandez, New York Times)


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