The NYPD made no secret that it would post anti-sniper teams and other security personnel around Yankee Stadium at Tuesday night’s playoff game — a preview of security precautions shadowing all upcoming large crowd events in the city after the Las Vegas massacre.
The anti-sniper teams, composed of an officer acting as a lookout and another cop holding a military-style long rifle, are often deployed around the city at big events, officials said. On Tuesday, NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said the armed officers and others are part of the same security screen deployed at the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square.
“In the Bronx we will have observation teams, counter-sniper teams, more resources, more heavy weapons teams,” Gomez told reporters at a news briefing.
New York City officials have said there are no credible threats of mass-casualty violence but said they are stepping up security out of an abundance of caution.
After Sunday’s attack in Las Vegas, upcoming concerts and other large gatherings will include an increased police presence — more uniformed officers for visibility, police helicopters overhead and other measures not apparent to the public.
Other officials told Newsday that at a minimum the NYPD uses three counter-sniper squads at big outdoor events. SummerStage concerts are planned for Central Park Friday and Saturday. The anti-sniper teams and other security officials are expected to be out in force, officials said.
Before Gomez spoke, both Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill held a moment of silence Tuesday and said the response of ordinary Americans in helping the dying and wounded in Las Vegas was a testament to the nation’s character.
The slaughter in Las Vegas, in which a gunman shot and killed at least 59 concertgoers and wounded hundreds of others, represented a moment when neighbors suddenly pitched in to help neighbors, O’Neill said at a news briefing on crime statistics.
“Ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things. I think it speaks very high to the character of our nation,” the commissioner told reporters at the latest edition of the monthly crime briefing he holds with de Blasio.
“We are all mourning today in the wake of this national tragedy,” O’Neill said. “But we will all get through this together, and it is together that we try to figure out why these mass shootings keep occurring and how we can stop them.”
De Blasio took a more political tone in his remarks, noting that the slaughter in Nevada occurred as two pieces of federal legislation were pending that could lessen the barriers preventing illegal guns from getting into the city.
One bill, the so-called “SHARE Act,” was criticized by de Blasio as making it “easier to have a massacre here.” The proposal would allow the transport of firearms and ammunition between two states where it’s legal to possess, carry and transport both.
Another measure, the “concealed carry reciprocity act” would allow someone not licensed to carry a handgun in New York State to have one if the person were licensed in their home state, a proposal de Blasio said would cripple the NYPD’s ability to monitor guns.