NYPD counter-terror teams armed with heavy guns practiced Thursday an emergency response to a terror attack involving gunmen in several city buildings including a hotel.
Upon arriving at the simulated attack, police observed three dead civilians out front and aviation units spotted one terrorist on a roof. Heavily armed police raided the buildings - located at the NYPD training facility at Rodmen's Neck - to try to overtake the mock shooters.
As police entered the ground floor of one of the buildings, they heard shots from numerous terrorists on the floors above. Officers did proceed up the to the floors to stop the attack. But there were some additional casualties.
In a briefing afterward, officers spoke about what they had learned. Officers succeeded in finding some secondary explosives that were planted at the scene and the bomb squad was called in to dismantle them.
But in one case, a suicide bomber inside did surprise officers and was able to detonate a mock device - taking the life of two of the responding officers.
Officers said communication between the various responding units went very well during this drill.
Police also discovered a map of the Empire State Building and other documents on one of the mock terror suspects. That information was sent back to a command post and NYPD Intelligence officers were immediately asked to review the documents. In the drill - patrol cars were immediately sent to the landmark as a precaution.
The NYPD has trained an extra 300 officers to respond with heavy weapons in case there is a multi-pronged terror attack in the city. These extra officers are in addition to the 400 Emergency Service Units already trained in heavy weapons and counter-terror tactics.
This NYPD drill comes amid new intelligence that al Qaeda may be planning a possible Mumbai-style attack in Europe. In the Mumbai terror attack, several terrorists with guns and grenades attacked hotels and community centers at the same time, catching Indian authorities off guard.
Organized crime unit officers and NYPD range instructors are among the officers receiving extra training.
This drill combined the varying units to see how well they would respond and work together. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was pleased with the results of the exercise. But he said there is always room for improvement.
Aviation units assisted the dozens of responding officers on the ground in the drill.