Police Arrest Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami Over Bombs In New York Area

September 19, 2016

Law enforcement agencies have apprehended New Jersey resident Ahmad Khan Rahami, after a brief but intense manhunt by agencies seeking to question him about multiple bombs in New York and New Jersey since Saturday. No one was killed in the blasts, but 29 people were injured.

Rahami, 28, was captured after a gunbattle with police in Linden, N.J.; images shown on local TV shortly before noon Monday showed Rahami on a stretcher with what looks to be a wound on his upper arm or shoulder, with his hands behind his back.

Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, N.J., the nearby city where Rahami lived, said on CNN that the suspect was apprehended and taken away by an ambulance after being injured in a shootout with police.

Both the FBI and NYPD want to question Rahami about Saturday night's explosion on West 23rd Street in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The New Jersey State Police say he's also wanted in relation to an explosion earlier that day at Seaside Park, N.J.

The FBI bulletin that announced the hunt for Rahami, 28, said he "should be considered armed and dangerous." The New Jersey State Police urged members of the public to look out for a 2003 blue Honda Civic he was thought to be driving. His last known address was in Elizabeth, N.J.; a backpack with five bombs was found Sunday night at a train station in Elizabeth.

Investigators searched several homes in New Jersey early Monday. Two law enforcement officials told NPR's Dina Temple-Raston that a cellphone attached to an explosive device that did not detonate initially led them to the man's father, which then led them to Rahami.

"The important thing is to get this individual quickly and to continue to be strong and vigilant," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday via Twitter. He urged anyone with knowledge about the case to call 1-800-577-TIPS.

Rahami is a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan on Jan. 23, 1988, the FBI says, adding, "He is about 5' 6" tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. Rahami has brown hair, brown eyes, and brown facial hair."

"The investigation is moving rapidly," President Obama said Monday.

The bombs were mentioned by President Obama during a news conference in New York, where the president is attending this week's United Nations General Assembly. Obama said he's been briefed by FBI Director James Comey and has been speaking to local leaders, as well.

Summing up where things stand, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning that he expects new developments to emerge today.

"We need the facts to be able to piece all this together and to find, was it an individual, was it more than one individual, do these different incidents relate," the mayor said on CNN. "I think we're going to know a lot more in the course of today. Things are moving very quickly, and certainly we're going to have a lot more to say in just the next coming hours."

De Blasio spoke less than 12 hours after five explosive devices, including pipe bombs, were found late Sunday in a backpack near the Amtrak and commuter train station in Elizabeth. An FBI bomb team was using a robot to disarm one of the bombs when the device inadvertently detonated. No one was injured.

We're learning more about Rahami Monday, including what seems to be a marked change in his appearance as he went from having close-shaved hair to wearing a beard, as seen in a sequence of photos released by New Jersey State Police Monday.

In addition, NPR has learned that in 2011, Rahami's father and other family members filed a lawsuit against the city of Elizabeth, its police department and other defendants, accusing them of harassment that targeted their business, a restaurant called First American Fried Chicken. The treatment was inspired by the plaintiffs' religion, national origin and race, the plaintiffs say in court documents.

Story source: NPR