Threat hoax caused Lincoln Tunnel chaos, arrest made

Donald Wallace

CBS New York

NEW YORK - A man is charged with making terroristic threats and creating false public alarm after authorities say he called 911 and warned that a "DC sniper" was being driven into New York City.

The threat terrified commuters and snarled traffic on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel Tuesday evening, police said, according to CBS New York.

Donald Wallace, 39, was arrested by Port Authority detectives in Manhattan at around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, Weehawken, N.J. police detective Sgt. Thomas White said.

Wallace -- who had lived in College Park, Ga. and most recently in Philadelphia -- has a criminal history, White said.

According to White, a 911 call came in shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday with what appeared to be a pre-recorded message.

CBS New York reported the message said, "Get your hospitals up. The DC sniper is here in your city and it's a n*****. Get all your police ready and captivate. It's a cold one and you better win. I have a DC sniper that is driving into your city right now. One part menthol chloride three parts nitrate."

The call then went dead, White said. The phone number was initially tracked to a building in Weehawken, N.J. which overlooks the Lincoln Tunnel, White said.

The building was searched, but a suspect was not found.

The massive police response shut down roads in Weehawken not far from the tunnel, according to the station.

"I did see an Army vehicle go by and there were a lot of helicopters," one woman told the station.

Police also ordered passengers off a train near the Lincoln Harbor station just after 7 p.m. Some passengers were visibly upset by the whole ordeal, while others had no idea what was happening when those heavily armed officers boarded the train.

"As soon as we saw all the commotion, we realized there was something going on in the back car. We saw people's hands up. We thought maybe there was a stick-up. We didn't really know what was going on," Daniel Nussbaum of Teaneck, N.J. told CBS New York.

Major delays were also reported in nearby Hoboken, N.J. and in the Lincoln Tunnel itself. NJ TRANSIT buses stopped running and passengers on board were reportedly told to find another way home.

Wallace was eventually arrested in Manhattan. He was being held by Port Authority police and was awaiting extradition back to Weekhawn to face charges.