• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Suicidal man causes NY subway terror scare

April 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suicidal college student who carried highly toxic sodium cyanide into a subway tunnel caused a brief terrorism scare early Friday, police said. Track workers spotted the 20-year-old man - wearing a hard hat, safety vest and boots - at about 5:30 a.m. wandering deep inside the tunnel under the East River.

The workers pulled him aboard a train and took him to a lower Manhattan subway station. Police there discovered he was carrying a backpack holding a quart container full of sodium cyanide pellets, five highway flares and two bottles of water.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said investigators quickly ruled out the possibility the man could be a terrorist. He said the man instead convinced police that his plan was to kill himself in an isolated spot by swallowing the chemicals.

Police speculated the man may have considered using the flares to heat up the chemicals and inhaling the fumes.

He was not immediately charged.