A 28 year old New Jersey man is in custody following several bombings and several other failed bombing attempts in New York and New Jersey.
Ahmad Khan Rahami of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was identified as a suspect after a fingerprint was found on one of the devices that failed to detonate, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News.
Additional information that pointed to Rahami was found on cell phones that were wired to the unexploded bombs, the official said.
Rahami was taken into custody on Monday after an intense gun battle with police, according to law enforcement officials. The dramatic take-down came after police issued a cellphone alert to millions of residents in the area telling them to be on the lookout for the suspect, who was described as “armed and dangerous.”
Witnesses said they saw police shoot at a man who was running away. One person who was too rattled to give his name said the victim appeared to have been shot more than once and was “still twitching.” The same witness said that it appeared that an officer had been shot as well.
“Lotta’ lotta’ gunfire,” said Derek Pelligra, manager of Linden Auto Body.
Mr. Rahami was identified on surveillance video planting the bombs in Chelsea, both the device that exploded and another that failed to detonate a few blocks north. He was described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent who had been living with his family in Elizabeth, N.J.
Speaking at a news conference Monday morning, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage described how the Rahami family had issues with the city in the past, mainly surrounding the operation of their family restaurant, First American Fried Chicken.
Mr. Rahami’s father, Muhammad, employed his sons at the restaurant he opened about a decade ago, the mayor said.
The restaurant was open 24 hours a day, but neighbors complained about rowdy crowds that would gather at the place, often after midnight.
Responding to the complaints, the City Council passed an ordinance that would force the restaurant to close late at night, the mayor said.
“The City Council voted to shut it down at 10 p.m.,” he said. “They kept getting complaints from neighbors, it was a distress to people in the neighborhood.”
According to neighbors, the Rahamis did not comply with the city’s order.
On one occasion when the police came to force the restaurant to close, one of Mr. Rahami’s older brothers got in a fight with a police officer and was later arrested. Before the case could be resolved, Mr. McDermott said, the son fled to his home country, Afghanistan.
Mayor Bollwage also confirmed that the Rahami family sued the mayor, the City Council, some 20 police officers, claiming that they had been discriminated against because of their race and ethnicity