Mere hours after the FBI put out a be-on-the-lookout for a suspect in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody after a shootout with police in Linden, N.J.
Local news footage showed Rahami being wheeled from the scene on a gurney with a wound on his upper right arm.
— Tim Fleischer (@TimFleischer7) September 19, 2016
“At approximately 10:30 this morning, the owner of one of the establishments in town reported that there was an individual sleeping in his hallway,” Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said, according to WABC. “One of our police officers went to investigate, to wake him up, and realized that he was the suspect that has been sought in the other bombings that had occurred prior…He realized it was the suspect, and within moments, the suspect had fired on him. And thank God that he had his vest on. I think that saved his life.”
The officer with his vest on took a bullet in his abdomen, and another officer took bullet fragments in the forehead.
One officer and Rahami were taken to University Hospital of Newark, and the other officer was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Hamilton, N.J.
Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki said “when the officer tried to rouse the man in the doorway, when the man picked up his head, he noticed that the man had a beard and he looked like the suspect being sought.”
“So he told him to show his hands, and the suspect had his hand on his side…he pulled out a handgun, and he fired a shot at the officer, striking him in his bullet-proof vest in his abdomen. At that point, the officer returned fire.”
Charges against Rahami could be announced as early as today.
The apartment of the 28-year-old’s family in Elizabeth, N.J., where five devices were found in a backpack in a trash can near a commuter rail line Sunday, was raided Monday by federal agents. According to WABC, Rahami’s father runs First American Fried Chicken. The restaurant was being savaged with bad reviews on Yelp today.
The family tried to run the eatery throughout the night, but after noise complaints from neighbors the city passed an ordinance requiring it to close by 10 p.m. Rahami’s father and two brothers sued the city in 2011 in response.
According to NJ.com, the family claimed police officers were coming into their restaurant and telling them “Muslims don’t belong here” and “Muslims are trouble.” The lawsuit is still active in the U.S. District Court in Newark, though the attorney for the family recused herself last year. Ahmad Rahami is not named in the suit, but neighbors reported seeing him work at the eatery.
Rahami studied criminal justice at Middlesex Community College from 2010 to 2012. He was arrested in 2012 on a domestic violence charge and in 2014 on charges of aggravated assault with attempt to cause bodily injury, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. New Jersey 101.5 reported that a grand jury decided not to indict him the following year.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN that the quick arrest of Rahami sent the message “you’d better think again” to would-be terrorists.
Cuomo said “multiple videos had multiple people,” so with Rahami in custody investigators will be checking to see if he’s part of a cell and trying “to see the extent of the activity.”
The governor said it was “early” to judge whether there was a foreign tie to Rahami’s attacks.
After Rahami’s arrest, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a press conference that there is now “every reason to believe this was an act of terror.”
The mayor added there’s “no other individual we’re looking for at this time.”