2016-09-19 / Front Page

Bombing suspect arrested in New Jersey

JAKE PEARSON and ALICIA A. CALDWELL
Associated Press


Bomb squad personnel stand around the scene of an explosion near the train station early this morning in Elizabeth, N.J. 
AP WIREPHOTO Bomb squad personnel stand around the scene of an explosion near the train station early this morning in Elizabeth, N.J. AP WIREPHOTO

LINDEN, N.J. (AP) — An Afghan immigrant wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked a New York City neighborhood and a New Jersey shore town was captured Monday after being wounded in a gun battle with police that erupted when he was discovered sleeping in a bar doorway, authorities said.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, appeared conscious, his upper right arm bandaged and bloodied, as he was loaded into an ambulance in Linden. Authorities said he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the leg.

Two officers were wounded in the shootout but were not believed to be seriously hurt, authorities said.

The arrest just hours after police issued a bulletin and photo of Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan who lived with Muslim family in an apartment in Elizabeth, New Jersey, over a fried-chicken restaurant owned by his father.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, touring the site of Saturday’s blast that injured 29 people in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, said there didn’t appear to be any link to international terrorism. He said the unexploded pressure cooker device appeared “similar in design” to the bomb that exploded in Chelsea, but he didn’t provide details.

On Sunday, a federal law enforcement official said the Chelsea bomb contained a residue of Tannerite, an explosive often used for target practice that can be picked up in many sporting goods stores. The discovery of Tannerite may be important as authorities probe whether the two New York City devices and the pipe bomb at the Jersey shore are connected.

Cellphones were discovered at the site of both bombings, but no Tannerite residue was identified in the New Jersey bomb remnants, in which a black powder was detected, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to comment on an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The pipe bomb exploded Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The race was canceled and no one was injured.

Late Sunday, five suspicious devices were found near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said the devices were found in a bag in a trash can by two men who reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package. One of the devices exploded as a bomb squad used a robot to try to disarm it. No injuries were reported.

There was no immediate word on whether the devices were similar to those in nearby Seaside Park or New York City.

Officials haven’t revealed any details about the makeup of the pressure cooker device, except to say it had wires and a cellphone attached to it. On Sunday night, police blew up the device, rendering it safe. A forensic examination of the device will be sent to the FBI Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia, police said .

Homemade pressure cooker bombs were used in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013 that killed three people and injured more than 260.

On Sunday, a team of five FBI agents searched an Uber driver’s vehicle that had been damaged in the Manhattan blast. The driver had just picked up three passengers and was driving when the explosion occurred, shattering the car’s windows and leaving gaping holes in the rear passenger-side door.

The Chelsea explosion left many rattled in a city that had marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks only a week earlier and that was schedule to hold a United Nations meeting Monday to address the refugee crisis in Syria.

Witnesses described a deafening blast that shattered storefront windows and injured bystanders with shrapnel in the mostly residential neighborhood on the city’s west side.

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