New York, New Jersey bombings suspect in custody

Published: Sep. 19, 2016 at 6:24 AM CDT
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The suspect sought in a series of weekend bombings in the New York/New Jersey area was taken into custody Monday morning after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ahmad Rahami of Elizabeth, New Jersey was hospitalized after being shot in the leg. Two officers were also injured. One officer was shot in the chest, but not seriously wounded because he was wearing a bulletproof vest. The other was hit by flying glass.

Rahami was found sleeping in a bar hallway before his arrest. Linden Mayor Derek Armstead says the man was initially presumed to be a vagrant, but police officers who responded realized it was Rahami. Armstead says he pulled out a gun and fired at the officers, hitting one in the bulletproof vest. He then began firing as he ran down the street and police shot him in the leg.

Rahami, a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan, was wanted in connection with an explosion shortly before 1 a.m. ET near an Elizabeth train station. It was the second blast in New Jersey since Saturday morning and followed a bombing Saturday night in Manhattan that injured 29 people. A pressure cooker device was also found blocks away, but it didn't explode. A pipe bomb also exploded Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey before a charity race. No one was injured.

"We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror," said New York Mayor Bill De Blasio during a news conference Monday afternoon. The FBI said evidence, including a fingerprint, found at the bombing locations and surveillance video from the Manhattan bombing led authorities to suspect Rahami. There is no knowledge that Rahami had connections overseas or if there is an active terrorist cell operating in the area, but the FBI says the investigation is ongoing. No other suspects are being sought.

Bomb making materials that matched the exploded devices was found in a search of Rahami's apartment.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says investigators have no reason to believe that there are further threats, but the public should "be on constant guard."

Relatives of a Rahami filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 claiming they and their family business were targeted because they are Muslims. In the lawsuit, Mohammad Rahami and two of his sons claimed that starting in July 2008, Elizabeth police and city officials improperly tried to restrict their fast-food restaurant's hours. The lawsuit was terminated in 2012 after Mohammad Rahami pleaded guilty to blocking police from enforcing the restriction. The city was fighting the claims.

Ahmad Rahami was not part of the lawsuit. The family claimed that baseless citations were issued against them, spawned by complaints filed by residents who disliked them and made anti-Muslim comments to them.