Suspect in NY/NJ bombings in custody

A bloody shootout on a New Jersey street ended Monday with the arrest of a suspect in Saturday's bomb blast that wounded 29 people in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, authorities said.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, and two police officers were wounded in the gunfight in Linden — hours after authorities found more explosives at a New Jersey train station, raided an apartment nearby, issued a wanted poster and began to link the blast with other bombs.

The intense manhunt came to a swift conclusion after Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, was found sleeping in the doorway of a bar, Mayor Derek Armstead said. Rahami shot the officer – who was wearing a Kevlar vest -- in the abdomen, Armstead said.

Rahami then began shooting “indiscriminately” along Elizabeth Avenue, the police said, and another officer was injured in the hand. More officers joined the gun battle and brought Rahami down, police Capt. James Sarnicki said.

Rahami's last known address was listed in nearby Elizabeth, and federal authorities conducted a raid there Monday at an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant operated by Rahami's father.

"This is someone who was likely involved in one way or another" with the explosion Saturday in the Chelsea neighborhood that wounded 29 people, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN's New Day.

Christian Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, said a traffic stop conducted by FBI agents at the Verrazano Bridge led to the search warrant in Elizabeth. Several people in the car were detained for questioning.

The explosion in Chelsea rocked the neighborhood and blew windows out of buildings. An unexploded pressure-cooker device was also found four blocks away and was being analyzed by the FBI. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the bombs had some similarities but provided no other details.

Hours before the Chelsea blast, a pipe bomb exploded in a Seaside Park, N.J., trash can before a 5k charity run that was to benefit Marines and sailors. No one was injured but the race was canceled. New Jersey State Police posted a notice on Facebook saying Rahami was wanted for questioning in that blast.

On Monday, a device found in a backpack near the Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot was trying to disarm it, authorities said.

Bollwage said that two men found a bag containing five devices in a trash can at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The bag had wires and a pipe protruding from it. Bollwage said the FBI was attempting to disarm one of the devices when it exploded. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage.

“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it with no timers and then you have to wonder how many people could have been hurt,” Bollwage said.

Hours later, the FBI, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, K-9 units, city police and the New Jersey State Police arrived at the Elizabeth apartment.

 

NJ Transit services were suspended for hours between Newark Liberty Airport and Elizabeth, and Amtrak trains to New Jersey were held at New York Penn Station. Amtrak trains heading to New York were held in Trenton early Monday.

Amtrak said 2,400 passengers were affected, but that schedules returned to normal Monday morning. New Jersey Transit reported delays Monday due to police activity in Elizabeth.

Authorities said Sunday night that surveillance video shows what appears to be the same person moving bombs into place at the site of the New York explosion, and a few blocks north.

Mayor de Blasio said Sunday that people will see "a very substantial NYPD presence this week — bigger than ever."

The heightened alert comes as world leaders are gathering Monday for the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama is expected to attend the annual meeting Tuesday, the last of his eight-year tenure.

Contributing: Rick Jervis and Rich Cowen, ‚Äčthe Associated Press; Onyanga-Omara reports for USA TODAY, Wyrich for The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record

 

 

 


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