The man who authorities want to speak to about the Saturday night bombing in Chelsea and Saturday morning bombing in Jersey Shore is apparently in custody. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was reportedly engaged in a gun battle before being apprehended.
The shootout occurred in Linden, NJ, four miles away from Elizabeth, NJ, which is where Rahami's last known address is. NBC New York reports, "At least one officer was shot in the chest during the takedown, but was not seriously wounded because he was wearing a bullet proof vest. Rahami was also wounded in the shootout."
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Rahami was reportedly taken to the hospital. Law enforcement agencies have not confirmed that he is in custody, but CNN, NBC New York and the NY Times report it was him (NBC New York's Jonathan Dienst says authorities want to confirm via fingerprints).
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Authorities identified Rahami as a person of interest around 7:30 a.m. this morning, noting that he should be considered "armed and dangerous." According to WCBS 2:
Linden police said they found Rahami after officers responded to a call of a man sleeping in a hallway of a local business. When a responding officer approached the man, the man raised his head and that’s when the officer recognized him as Rahami, Capt. James Sarnicki with Linden police told CBS2.
“The suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the officer and striking him in the abdomen,” Sarnicki said. “The gentlemen got up and started walking down the street in a westerly direction. I’m told that he was randomly discharging his handgun and one of the officers was able to get close enough to him and return fire."
Video shows bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami in custody in Linden, New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/NrVJCPNAkC
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) September 19, 2016
Rahami was taken to University Hospital in Newark. His family owns a fried chicken restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, in Elizabeth, NJ. The family, including Rahami, lived upstairs. The restaurant had attracted complaints; the NY Times reports, "Neighbors, including Dean McDermott, who lives on the corner of Linden and Elmora Avenues and works as a news videographer, said the restaurant drew rowdy crowds past midnight. Often Mr. McDermott found patrons loitering in his yard and urinating in his driveway, and he called the police. Others did, too."
“The City Council voted to shut it down at 10,” [Elizabeth NJ mayor J. Christian] Bollwage said. “They kept getting complaints from neighbors; it was a distress to people in the neighborhood.”
The Rahamis did not comply, Mr. McDermott said, and he continued calling the police when they stayed open late.
Once, he said, one of Ahmad’s older brothers got in a fight with an officer who came to shut down the restaurant. Before the case could be resolved, Mr. McDermott said, the son fled to his home country, Afghanistan.
The elder Rahami sued the city, Mayor Bollwage said. Mr. McDermott said that the lawsuit charged that Mr. Rahami had been discriminated against because of his ethnicity.
“It was neighbor complaints, it had nothing to do with his ethnicity or religion,” the mayor said. “It had to do with noise and people congregating on the streets.”
The FBI raided the home this morning. Bollwage said, "They are going to be here for hours as they search every inch (of the places)."
It's believed that the same person (or group) is behind the three pipe bombs—one of which detonated—found in Seaside Park, NJ on Saturday morning; the two bombs in Chelsea—one that exploded on West 23rd Street and one device that was not detonated on West 27th Street—found on Saturday night; and five devices—one that was detonated by a bomb robot—found at the Elizabeth, NJ train station.
A law enforcement official told the Times, “We don’t know his particular ideology or what his inspiration was or whether he was directed or whether he was inspired. We don’t have any of that... We have a lot to connect him to the Seaside Heights device, to the 27th Street device, to the 23rd Street device. And in all likelihood the Elizabeth train station device — which is a half-mile from his residence. So, the ideology, the connection to international terrorism, we might flesh that out as we go through the results of search warrants, looking for computers, discs, things like this. Search warrants that we did Sunday night at the residence in Elizabeth."