Published December 24, 2016
The teen who at first seemed to boast about exposing a major security breach at the World Trade Center is now apologizing for his actions.
Justin Casquejo, a 16-year-old from Weehawken, N.J. who made headlines after he eluded security at the symbolic building and climbed to the sixth floor of the building, said he was sorry for his antics.
"I seriously apologize to anyone who may have been insulted or felt disrespected by my actions. It was not my intention to do so," he tweeted Friday afternoon.
Just days earlier, he seemed to be making light of the prank during an interview with the New York Post.
“Ha ha, oh yeah, that. Right. I would really love to talk to you guys because I have a lot that I want to say about it,” he told the newspaper. “I was told that I just can’t [talk] without permission.”
The thrill-seeking teen, an extreme sport enthusiast who loves attention, made international headlines after he managed to squeeze through a fence, amble to the sixth floor of the unfinished building and then spent two hours taking pictures.
Casquejo, who was known for his wild antics, seemed to be taken aback by the backlash.
"He was always the one climbing the cliffs, doing something stupid," said Casquejo’s 18-year-old neighbor Patrick Flores, referring to the cliffs on which Weehawken sits, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, with clear views of the World Trade Center and the rest of the Manhattan skyline. "But that was him — that was his life."
Flores said Casquejo had recently become interested in parkour, the extreme sport that combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics and rock climbing and has become popular thanks to YouTube videos of acrobatic athletes vaulting over obstacles including park benches, trees, guardrails and buildings. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Casquejo’s parents are divorced but both live in Weehawken.
If Casquejo were looking for bragging rights, he could scarcely have picked a more prominent building. Throughout its rebuilding since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the building once known as the Freedom Tower has been enmeshed in elaborate security plans.
Some think he should be hailed a hero.
"He did wrong, but he's showing that there's not enough security in that building," local crossing guard Sivia Mendez told the Star-Ledger.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.