What we know about New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami
Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghan immigrant wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked a New York City neighbourhood and a New Jersey shore town, was taken into custody Monday after a shootout with police in New Jersey.
The 28-year-old suspect was arrested just hours after police published pictures of his face to social media and pushed an emergency alert to iPhone users in the area asking for the public’s help in locating him.
Rahami was wanted for questioning in relation to the bomb that exploded in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood on Saturday, injuring 29 people. An unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found blocks away, and a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey shore town before a charity race earlier on Saturday. On Sunday, five explosive devices were discovered in a trash can at an Elizabeth, N.J., train station, one of which was detonated by authorities early Monday.
However, not much is known about the suspect yet. According to police, Rahami is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth.
It is unclear at this time whether Rahami has foreign ties; however, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that evidence from the explosion may point towards a foreign connection.
Rahami wasn’t on any terror or no-fly watch lists, though he had been interviewed for immigration purposes travelling between the U.S. and Afghanistan, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. According to officials, he traveled to Afghanistan multiple times over the last few years.
NBC News reported that a fingerprint found on a cellphone connected to one of the unexploded devices helped authorities identify Rahami as a suspect.
Rahami and his family live above their fried-chicken restaurant – called First American Fried Chicken – and the family has clashed with the city over closing times and noise complaints, which the Rahamis said in a lawsuit were tinged with anti-Muslim sentiment. The lawsuit was terminated in 2012 because one of Rahami’s brothers had pleaded guilty to blocking police from enforcing closing hours at the restaurant.
“He’s a very friendly guy, he gave me free chicken,” a patron of the restaurant told The New York Times. “He was always the most friendly man you ever met.”
A childhood friend, Flee Jones, said Rahami had become more religious after returning from a trip to Afghanistan several years ago. Still, some of the family restaurant’s customers said Rahami was more likely to talk about his interest in cars than to mention faith.
Rahami was detained Monday after a shootout with police. After surgery for a gunshot wound to his leg, Rahami was being held on $5.2 million bail, charged with five counts of attempted murder of police officers. Federal prosecutors said they were still weighing charges over the bombings. Rahami remains hospitalized.
VIDEO: Father of suspected New York bomber says he had no idea son was planning attacks
Rahami’s father said he had no idea what his son was planning.
When asked by reporters whether or not he believed the accusations facing his son he said, “I’m not sure whats happened exactly. It’s very hard right now to talk.”
— With files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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