Contact: Kelly Martins
Public Information Office
ELIZABETH, NJ - September 26, 2016 - Mayor J. Christian Bollwage will join members of the Elizabeth City Council to honor Mr. Lee Parker and Mr. Ivan White for their heroic efforts in connection to finding five pipe bombs within the City of Elizabeth on September 19, 2016. Mr. Parker and Mr. White will be recognized at the Elizabeth City Council meeting, which will be held in City Council Chambers, located on the Third Floor of Elizabeth City Hall, 50 Winfield Scott Plaza, on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Upon locating a suspicious backpack, which contained items with wires attached within a garbage can at the Midtown Elizabeth Train Station, Mr. Parker and Mr. White notified law enforcement authorities. The contents of the found backpack would later be confirmed to be pipe bombs.
“The actions of Mr. Parker and Mr. White were courageous, inspirational and saved lives,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “When they found a backpack with questionable contents, they did not ignore it or dismiss it as nothing, they chose to report it, placing the safety of our community and the region first. Their brave and civic-minded acts are commendable and are an example of the difference that can be made when awareness is raised and information shared.”
The backpack was found at the train station on West Grand Street around 8:15 p.m. Initially, Mr. Parker and Mr. White began carrying the backpack, before it was eventually let go when they realized there were wires inside. At this time, the two gentlemen proceeded on foot to Elizabeth Police Headquarters, located approximately one block away at One Police Plaza, to inform officers.
Following the description and report of Mr. Parker and Mr. White, the Elizabeth Police Department immediately responded to the scene. In addition, they implemented notification procedures to county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, to advise of the location of the suspicious package and potentially hazardous materials. In addition to the Elizabeth Police Department; the Elizabeth Fire Department; Union County Sheriff’s Office; Union County Bomb Squad; Union County Prosecutor’s Office; New Jersey State Police; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were in attendance at the site. One of the pipe bombs was detonated at the location by law enforcement utilizing a bomb detonation robot.
“If Mr. Parker and Mr. White did not advise law enforcement of what they saw when they did, the result could have been tragic,” said Council President Nelson Gonzalez. “I applaud their efforts and the steps they took to ensure the security of our residents.”
The City of Elizabeth is the fourth largest municipality in the State of New Jersey as well as the Union County Seat. It has direct access to the Elizabeth Seaport, which is a major international seaport on the East Coast; Terminal A of Newark Liberty International Airport; the Goethals Bridge; two exits on the New Jersey Turnpike and US Routes 1&9. The North East Corridor and North Jersey Coastline also run through Elizabeth via its two train stations. The municipality is also home to The Mills at Jersey Gardens Mall, IKEA, Trinitas Regional Medical Center as well as numerous hotels and companies.