Last weekend, a home-made bomb planted in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC exploded, injuring 29 people. Thankfully, no one was killed in the explosion, but it left many people shaken. What most people don’t know was that there was another bomb– planted in Elizabeth, New Jersey– that would have caused further damage if not for a homeless man and his friend.
The day after the Chelsea explosion, Lee Parker and Ivan White were walking down the street when they spotted a brand new backpack, sitting in a trash can. Lee had just told Ivan that he needed a new bag, so Lee picked it up and they went on their way.
As he was walking, Lee recalls realizing that the bag was heavy. He looking inside and, puzzled by what he saw, handed the bag to Ivan, to ask his opinion. Ivan could immediately identify its contents. It was a bomb.
“I said we need to go to the police station right now, because this is a bomb.” said Ivan. “It wasn’t the cartoon bomb with a tick-tock tick-tock clock but it had wires. I had seen enough pictures of pipe bombs and different devices in books, magazines. I knew what I was looking at as soon as I saw it.”
The men took the bag to a remote area (in case it detonated) and rushed to the police station. Police went to the drop point and detonated the bomb in a secure area, using a robot, so that no one would be hurt.
Aided by the information provided by Lee and Ivan, police discovered a total of five pipe bombs hidden in a New Jersey train station; police even say that Lee and Ivan’s discovery helped lead to the arrest of the man currently suspected of planting those bombs. Investigators say the suspect may be the same man responsible for the bombs in Chelsea.
“I’m just glad I was able to realize what the situation was and react in such a way that, thank goodness, no one was hurt.” said Ivan.
In response to those who are calling them heroes, Lee had this to say: “Hero? No. I wouldn’t go that far. [I was] just doing the right thing.”