NBC News reports a loud explosion was heard just before 1 AM at the train station where authorities were investigating a suspected bomb. There are conflicting reports on whether this was a controlled detonation tied to that investigation or not. Reports from scene describe police as startled by the sound of the explosion.
1:21 AM: This tweet from an NBC reporter on the scene is the latest report on the explosion heard in Elizabeth …
Mayors spokesman confirms controlled explosion in Elizabeth,NJ. Says there may be more “booms” as “multiple” devices are in single backpack.
— Miguel Almaguer (@Miguelnbc) September 19, 2016
1:32 AM: The same NBC reporter now quotes the Mayor of Elizabeth saying this was not in fact a controlled explosion but was “an explosive device [that] could have hurt a lot of people.” Needless to say the situation in Elizabeth seems confused and rather chaotic and the Mayor himself may not have all the information about what’s happening. I think for the moment we simply don’t know what happened. But reading between the lines perhaps this is a semantic confusion about constitutes a controlled detonation.
1:42 PM: Latest report suggests the suspicious package/suspected bomb detonated while a police robot was cutting wires or somehow working with the device. So not a controlled detonation per se but also not a bomb or device that wasn’t known about or different from the one the police were examining. It is probably most accurate to say this bomb went off in a semi-controlled setting, not an intentional detonation but one in which police knew they were working with a bomb that might go off and had taken precautions accordingly.