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Who is the real 'Hero of Times Square'?
Street vendor Lance Orton has been praised for helping thwart the terrorist attack — but so have two other men. Who deserves the credit?
 
Lance Orton.
Lance Orton.
Screengrab

With police trying to unravel the failed May 2 attempt to detonate a car-bomb in Times Square, street vendor Lance Orton — who alerted police to the smoking Nissan Pathfinder — has emerged as the episode's "hero."  Meanwhile, conflicting reports identify two other men as the informant. What's going on? (Watch reporters pepper Lance Orton with questions)

Who are the three men?
Lance Orton, a t-shirt salesman and Vietnam veteran, has received the most press coverage. Initially reluctant to speak with reporters, Orton appeared on Monday's "TODAY" show (see video below). The other men include Duane Jackson, a fellow t-shirt vendor and Vietnam veteran; and Aliou Niasse, a Senegali immigrant who sells framed photographs near the other two men's stalls.

Do the other vendors claim they deserve the credit?
No. Still, while Jackson claims vaguely to have "helped" inform police, according to the NJ Star-Ledger, Niasse's remarks to the Times of London suggest a more pivotal role. After seeing the smoking car, Niasse says, "I thought I should call 911, but my English is not very good and I had no credit left on my phone, so I walked over to Lance...and told him...Immediately he alerted a police officer near by." Orton confirmed the story during his "TODAY" show interview.

So, why is Orton being treated as the sole hero?
Since Orton and Jackson are both American-born, while Niasse is an immigrant, some critics say bias is a factor. "I guess it makes more sense," says Bucky Turco in Animal New York, "for American media to have an American hero."

Watch Orton's interview on the "Today" show:


Sources:
NY Times, Times (U.K.), MSNBC, NJ Star-Ledger, Animal New York

 

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