NY, NJ Bombings: Suspect Charged With Attempted Murder Of Officers

The man suspected in Saturday’s bombings in New York and New Jersey was captured on Monday after a frantic manhunt and shootout.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer after a shootout Monday with police in Linden, New Jersey, Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said. He is also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Authorities said Rahami is “directly linked” to bombings Saturday in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, and is believed to be connected to pipe bombs found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey, sources said.
“We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
But many questions remain, chief among them, why did he do it? And, is anyone else responsible?
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The arrest

Rahami was captured after the owner of a bar in Linden, New Jersey, found him sleeping in the doorway of his bar Monday morning. Harinder Bains, owner of Merdie’s Tavern, said he was watching CNN on his laptop from another business across the street. At first, he thought he was some “drunk guy” resting in the vestibule. Then, he recognized Rahami and called police.
“I’m just a regular citizen doing what every citizen should do. Cops are the real heroes, law enforcement are the real heroes,” Bains told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
When officers responded, Rahami pulled out a handgun and opened fire, striking an officer in the chest. A foot chase ensued, during which Rahami shot at a police car, causing a bullet to graze another office in the face.
The chase ended when Rahami was shot multiple times. He was taken to a hospital for surgery. Officers Angel Padilla and Peter Hammer were taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
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Rahami was not initially cooperative with police who tried to interview him, a law enforcement official said.
Authorities believe the “main guy” has been caught but the investigation continues to determine if Rahami had help, sources told CNN.
Though FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr., said there is “no indication” of an active operating cell in the New York area, evidence suggests Rahami was not acting alone, sources told CNN.
As the investigation continues, law enforcement has stressed there is no reason to believe a bomber is on the run.

The investigation

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Initially, a garbage explosion at a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, seemed to be an isolated incident. Two other unexploded bombs were found nearby and no one was wounded in the blast.
Then came another blast Saturday night in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29 people. As law enforcement cordoned off the area, investigators found a pressure cooker four blocks away.
Dark-colored wiring was connected by silver duct tape to what appeared to be a cell phone. Ball bearings and BBs were among pieces of metal that appeared to be packed inside, a federal law enforcement official said. A handwritten note found next to it contained ramblings, including references to previous terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers.
Surveillance video shows a man believed to be Rahami dragging what appears to be a duffel bag with wheels near the site of the West 23rd Street explosion about 40 minutes before the blast, according to multiple local and federal law enforcement sources.
About 10 minutes later, surveillance video shows the same man with the same duffel bag on West 27th Street, multiple law enforcement sources said.
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In the video, the man leaves the duffel bag where police later found the unexploded pressure cooker. After he leaves, the video shows two other men removing a white garbage bag believed to contain the pressure cooker from the duffel bag and leaving it on the sidewalk, according to a senior law enforcement official and another source familiar with the video.
Investigators have not determined if those two men are connected to the man with the duffel bag, the sources said.
Rahami was identified Sunday afternoon through a fingerprint, a senior law enforcement official said. Evidence from the cell phone on the pressure cooker also led to Rahmani’s identification.
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A traffic stop Sunday night of five people in New York led to searches and interviews in Elizabeth, New Jersey, said Sweeney with the FBI. Rahami’s last known address was in Elizabeth, the same city where the backpack with explosives was found Sunday night.

The latest bomb discovery

 

The backpack with five bombs inside was found in a wastebasket around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday outside a neighborhood pub in Elizabeth, about 16 miles from New York City. Two men found the backpack about 500 feet from a train trestle and alerted police, officials said.
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