Press Release Article


Date: Feb 15, 2018
Press Release Number: 30-2018

Officers awarded the Port Authority’s Medal of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by the agency

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today paid tribute to the eight hero Port Authority Police Department officers who arrested a suspected terrorist in December after a foot-long pipe bomb he was carrying exploded in an underground corridor below the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The officers were each awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary bravery in the face of circumstances that could have led to grave personal injury or death. It is the highest award bestowed by the Port Authority to its police personnel. The eight officers are:

  • Lt. Miriam Rubio, a 15-year PAPD veteran assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Sergeant Hector Martinez, a 19-year PAPD veteran assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Sergeant Victor Talamini, Jr., a 9-year Port Authority veteran assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Police Officer John Collins, 45, an attorney and 17-year PAPD veteran assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal Youth Services Unit.
  • Police Officer Anthony Estevez, a PAPD officer for 3 years assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Police Officer Sean Gallagher, 26, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Police Officer Anthony Manfredini, 28, a U.S. Marine Corps. Veteran who served as a bomb technician and is assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • Police Officer Drew Preston, 36, a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served three tours overseas assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

“Each and every day, the PAPD is on the front lines protecting the millions of customers who use our transportation facilities and our employees who operate and manage them,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Our officers risked their lives by running toward an obviously dangerous situation to arrest the suspect and to protect innocent lives.”

“The most important responsibility our agency has is to ensure the safety and security of the people who use our facilities every day,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Jeffrey Lynford. “These officers clearly went above and beyond the call of duty and exhibited exemplary bravery through their quick actions to protect bus terminal customers from an attacker who sought to harm as many people as possible. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”

“Our officers are among the best trained, most experienced police personnel anywhere, and, in this case, their training kicked in immediately and helped diffuse a situation that could have resulted in additional injuries or loss of life,” said Port Authority Chief Security Officer John Bilich. “We are proud of the selfless actions taken by our eight officers and pleased to give them the recognition they truly deserve.”

The incident that resulted in today’s recognitions occurred at 7:20 a.m. on December 11, when 27-year-old Akayad Ullah allegedly detonated a homemade explosive device inside a corridor connecting two subway lines underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Immediately after the explosion, Officer Collins, who was on routine patrol, and his fellow officers ran toward the smoke filled scene to take down the person suspected of detonating the pipe bomb. Several commuters suffered minor injuries during the incident, but no serious injuries or loss of life occurred.

The last Port Authority Medal of Honor was awarded in May 2011 to Port Authority Police Officer Dennis Mitchell. Officer Mitchell was honored for his actions on July 16, 2009 when he was part of a team that stormed an apartment on Reed Street in Jersey City to arrest armed robbery suspects who earlier that day shot a Jersey City police officer. Officer Mitchell was wounded in a shootout that occurred during that operation.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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