It was a busy 24 hours for police officer Wayne Rhatigan.
It started Saturday night when he saved uncounted lives in Times Square and ended with dinner with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Rhatigan, a mounted cop and 19-year veteran of the department, was in Times Square when a T-shirt vendor pointed out smoke coming from the back of the Nissan Pathfinder at 45th Street and Seventh Avenue.
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Rhatigan took his horse for a turn around the vehicle and didn’t like what he saw inside.
“I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second,” he told the Daily News.
He called for assistance and got immediately help from two rookie officers in the area.
Together they moved hundreds of people away from the car at the corner of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. Officials from President Barak Obama to Bloomberg praised alert New Yorkers and swift police response to the bomb.
After his harrowing night of work, Rhatigan quickly went home to his wife and three children on Long Island where he coached his 9-year-old daughter’s lacrosse team in a game. By 7 p.m. he was back in Times Square sitting down to eat at a seafood place with an appreciative mayor.