NEW YORK CITY – The Chelsea bombing terrorist attack shocked residents of New York City last month, including New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who was just finishing up his first day on the new job. O’Neill, who has served in the NYPD for over 30 years, was driving home from completing his first day as the new police commissioner when he received a phone call about the attacks. Though he was new to the position, the seasoned officer was ready for duty. He was on his way home but he turned his car around and went straight for the scene.
Following the attack and subsequent capture of the suspect, NYPD commissioner O’Neill visited CBS to appear on their morning show and speak about the incidents.
“There was a dumpster – went from one side of the street to the other. The force of the blast was tremendous. I think we were very lucky that only 29 people received not serious injuries,” O’Neill told the CBS morning hosts. He also told them he knew immediately they were dealing with a bomb.
“But did you immediately think terrorism?” Gayle King asked.
“You know what,” O’Neill said, “I’ve been in this business for 33 and a half years. It used to be just traditional crime, but I think the things that really keep me up at night were… are… thinking about acts of terror.”
“My job is to keep the people of this city safe,” the Commissioner said, and continued telling the hosts how proud he was of the great work the team did to find and capture the suspect.
“I think the message is that it’s an open society,” O’Neill said, “New York City is a great place to come, but if you’re gonna come here and you’re gonna do something bad, you’re gonna pay the price and you’re gonna face justice.”