Suspect in Custody after New York, New Jersey Explosions
[UPDATE: September 21, 2016 3:30 p.m. CT]
The NYPD and FBI have release a photo of the two men who approached the second device that did not detonate in the Chelsea explosion. The two men picked up the duffle bag the device was inside of, removed the device and took the bag.
The FBI stressed that these two men are not wanted for arrest, they would just like to talk to them about the incident.
[UPDATE: September 20, 2016 12:30 p.m. CT]
Following the shootout that left two police officers injured, (one was shot in the hand, the other in the bulletproof vest) police now have Ahmad Khan Rahami in custody.
Since that moment, investigators have been busy trying to answer the lingering questions: Did Rahami work alone? Who is his family? Does he work within a larger terror group? Did he work with anyone else?
The questions seem overwhelming, but here's what we do know since the arrest:
- Rahami is 28-years-old and lives with his parents above their restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
- Rahami was born in Afghanistan and became a neutralized U.S. citizen in 2011.
- Rahami has traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last five years.
- While in Pakistan in July 2011, Rahami married a Pakistani woman. He returned to Pakistan in April 2013 and remained until March 2014. Upon his return, he told officials he was visiting family.
- Rahami's wife traveled back overseas before the attacks on New Jersey and New York.
- Rahami's father "put his son in jail" two years ago for a domestic dispute, and also contacted the FBI to tell them his son was a terrorist. He later redacted his confession.
- Police found a notebook of Rahami's that included writings about the Boston Bombers and Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a spokesman for al Queda in the Arabian Peninsula before a CIA drone killed him in 2011.
- Rahami has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. He is also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Police are not actively searching for other suspects in the case, but have publicly expressed their intention of finding the two men who removed the second NY device from the duffle bag and then left with the bag. They are not wanted as of now.
The Afghani Taliban denies any involvement in the bombings and any ties with Rahami, the group's spokesman said.
Former New York state homeland security adviser Michael Balboni told CNN it appeared Rahami was self-radicalized and was "inspired not instructed."
[UPDATE: September 19, 2016 10:45 a.m. CT]
Multiple news sources are reporting that Ahmad Khan Rahami is in custody following a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, a city that neighbors Elizabeth, New Jersey where Rahami is from and where 5 explosive devices were found in a backpack late last night.
Original story posted below.
The north east is on edge, and for good reason. A pipe-bomb exploded in New Jersey where a 5k was supposed to be happening, luckily no one was hurt. That night, an explosion rocked the New York City suburb of Chelsea injuring 29 people. Police found another explosive device just a few blocks from the original blast that did not go off. Last night, police found five potentially explosive devices inside a backpack in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of them went off while the police were trying to disarm it, but no one was injured.
New Jersey Pipe-Bomb
An explosion in a garbage can near a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey is being investigated as a possible terrorist act as of Sunday, Sept. 18. The blast was most likely timed to disrupt the event in Seaside Park on Sept. 17, but no injuries were reported because registration problems delayed the start of the race.
Police discovered three pipe-bomb devices wired together near the boardwalk. An initial examination showed the devices were rudimentary, with some type of timer, and only one of the detonated, two federal law enforcement officials said.
Law enforcement in the area asked all residents to evacuate from their homes in case there were more devices planted in the Seaside Park area. There was also a travel restriction on the park for quite some time as local police, FBI and bomb squad members filled the blast site.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, around 8:30 p.m., an explosion occurred on the 23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The blast came from the general direction of a dumpster in the area and injured 29 people. First floor windows of the buildings in the blast site were shattered and glass laid everywhere as investigators went to work trying figure out where the device came from.
Later that night, police found a second device. A pressure cooker with wires protruding from the sides and a cell phone duck taped to it. It is believed that the second device was planted to intentionally hurt more people, but did not go off in succession with the other explosive.
Police were able to pull video surveillance footage from multiple businesses in the area. While some footage with too far away or grainy, they were able to pin point the exact moment when the same man, dragging a wheeled duffle bag behind him, visited both spots where explosives were found about 40 minutes before the blast. At the second spot, the man leaves the duffle bag and two other men shortly arrive to remove a white garbage bag believed to contain the pressure cooker and left it on the sidewalk.
Investigators are still trying to figure out how these men are connected and if they are connected to the explosion.
On Saturday night, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio said the incident was intentional, but that police had no evidence to connect the explosion with international terrorism.
Elizabeth, New Jersey Found Devices
On Sunday, Sept. 18 just after 8:45 p.m., two men called the police after finding a suspicious backpack in a garbage can in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The men took the bag out of the garbage, thinking there was something of value in it, but then called the police when they realized there were wires protruding from the bag.
Authorities recovered five devices in the backpack, one of which exploded during an attempt to disarm it using a robot. No one was injured.
"There was a suspicious package with multiple improvised explosive devices this evening at the Elizabeth Train Station in NJ. Bomb techs from the FBI, Union County, and the New Jersey State Police have arrived on the scene and are now rendering the area safe," the FBI said in a statement. "In the course of rendering one of the devices safe, it detonated. There are no injuries & law enforcement personnel are at the scene processing evidence."
The mayor of Elizabeth, Chis Bollwage, tweeted that there is no threat to public safety after the package was secured.
One Man Wanted
On Monday morning, the New York Police Department tweeted a photo of a suspect wanted in the Chelsea explosion.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is wanted for questioning in connection with the explosion Saturday in Seaside Park, the explosion in Chelsea, New York and for the five pipe-bombs located in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
This is a developing story.