ABOVE PHOTO: Duane Jackson sets up his sales stand while talking to reporters in Times Square in New York, Sunday, May 2, 2010. Jackson was one of the first people to alert police officers to a suspicious vehicle that contained a crude bomb. Police found an “amateurish” but potentially powerful bomb that apparently began to detonate but did not explode in a smoking sport utility vehicle in Times Square, authorities said last Sunday.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has telephoned Times Square vendor Duane Jackson to commend him for alerting authorities to the SUV used in the failed car bombing in New York City.
The 58-year-old handbag vendor from Buchanan, N.Y., said he saw the car last Saturday and wondered who had left it behind. Jackson said he looked inside the vehicle and saw keys in the ignition, and alerted a passing mounted New York City police officer.
The White House said Obama thanked Jackson for his vigilance and for acting quickly to prevent a serious incident from occurring.
Faisal Shahzad, the man arrested last Monday in connection with the failed plot, was trying to board a flight to Dubai when he was apprehended, Attorney General Eric Holder said early last Tuesday.
Holder said Shahzad, a U.S. citizen, was detained by agents from Customs and Border Protection at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The attorney general described the investigation as “multifaceted” and said federal, state and local authorities are continuing to pursue a number of leads. “As we move forward, we will focus on not just holding those responsible for it accountable, but also on obtaining any intelligence about terrorist organizations overseas,” he said.
Holder suggested authorities may be searching for more suspects, saying, “We will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice.”
“It’s clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans,” Holder said. “It’s important that the American people remain vigilant.”
Officials who spoke to The Associated Press early last Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation said Shahzad had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife.
Shahzad, who has a Shelton, Conn., address, was being held in New York.