Police stop train in Providence, order passengers off

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Associated Press WriterPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- An Amtrak train heading to Washington, D.C., was stopped by authorities in Providence on Wednesday, police went on board and passengers were ordered off. The mayor said officers were searching for suspects from Boston.

A man with a long beard could be seen being taken in handcuffs from the train station at about 3:20 p.m. The man, who was wearing a green cloth headress, green shirt and dark pants, was put in a Providence police cruiser.

Throngs of people then chased after the cruiser, cheering as the car sped away.

WJAR-TV said three people were taken off the train and were being questioned by law enforcement authorities.

Law enforcement authorities declined to comment.

Amtrak said Train No. 173 from Boston to Washington was stopped in Providence at the request of local police. The train was due in Washington at 8:50 p.m.

Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. said police told him they were looking for as many as four suspects who eluded authorities in Boston.

Cianci could not confirm whether the search was connected to Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Two of the hijacked planes that crashed Tuesday took off from Boston.

Passenger Rusty McDonald said the train was one stop from Providence when police boarded and began walking through it. There was no message or information given to passengers aboard the train.

When the train arrived in Providence around 2 p.m., it was stopped and passengers were ordered off.

The train station was evacuated.

Cecelia Cummings, a spokeswoman for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, confirmed that Amtrak was told to stop the train in Providence but would not say why.

Further details were not immediately available.

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