2 NYPD officers hailed heroes after standoff

A man who tossed a hoax device inside a police van in Times Square remains at Bellevue Hospital after his arrest a day earlier in Columbus Circle.

Hector Meneses, 52, of Flushing, Queens was at the center of a standoff with police that lasted six hours.

The incident began at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when the fake bomb was thrown through the van's window.

The officers then drove the van about one and a half blocks from Duffy Square to a less populated area where they contacted the NYPD bomb squad. 

"These two officers are heroes of the NYPD, heroes of New York City," Police Commissioner William Bratton tweeted.

Sgt. Hameed Armani, who was driving the van, said he made a quick decision when the object came through the window.


"I look around, saw a lot of kids, a lot of young people," Armani said at a news briefing. "We both look at each other and I go, `We're going to go, but I'm not going to have anyone else go with us."'

His partner, Officer Peter Cybulski, said he was "nervous" as Armani drove to a less crowded spot.

The device turned out to be a red candle, an LED light, pieces of tin foil, wrapped in a white sheet.

Police tracked down Menses, a former cab driver, at about 1 a.m. inside an SUV in Columbus Circle.

The suspect "rolls up the window, puts his hands towards the glove compartment and says that he wants to die and has a bomb strapped to his vest," said Bill Aubry, chief of Manhattan detectives.

Aubry said Meneses put on a red helmet and continued to act erratically.

A robot equipped with a camera and microphone was used in negotiation efforts with Meneses.

After about six hours, police pulled the former cab driver through the SUV's window and brought him to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.

The area around 59th St. and Central Park South in Manhattan was closed during the ordeal.

The A, B,C, D, 1 subways were bypassing the 59th St. station throughout the morning commute.