Police have arrested 28-year-old Ahmad Rahami, the alleged suspect behind the bombings in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, after a shoot-out in Linden, New Jersey. Two officers were hit in the shootout with Ahmad Khan Rahami in Linden, New Jersey, the mayor of the nearby city of Elizabeth said. One officer's vest was struck, and the other was shot in the hand.
Rahami, who according to NBC was also shot, was taken to an ambulance in a stretcher with his right shoulder bloodied and bandaged.
The alleged Afghani-born bomber, whose fingerprint was found on an unexploded device, was hunted in connection with the explosions that sparked fears of a local terror cell, according to federal officials. Earlier Monday, FBI agents raided the Elizabeth, New Jersey, home of Rahami, a naturalized US citizen who was deemed armed and dangerous, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Rahami's moment of capture was memorialized.
According to police reports, when Rahami was captured, police also found a suspicious package, and requested a bomb squad and a K-9 unit to the scene.
“We need to get this guy in right away,” de Blasio sadi earlier on CNN. “My experience is once the FBI zeroes in on someone, they will get them.” The apartment search began after one of five devices found in a backpack at a nearby Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot tried to disarm it. No one was injured.
Authorities have evidence that Rahami also was connected to an unexploded device on 27th Street and a blast Saturday morning at Seaside Heights, New Jersey, ahead of a race for Marines and sailors, The New York Times reported. A key piece of evidence to Rahami was a fingerprint found on an unexploded device, a law enforcement official told The Post.
Authorities also were able to identify the suspect with the help of a cell phone left behind with a pressure cooker found on West 27th Street — blocks away from the explosion on West 23rd Street, a source told ABC News.
A law enforcement official told The Times there was no direct evidence yet linking Rahami to ISIS or Al Qaeda. “We don’t know his particular ideology or what his inspiration was or whether he was directed or whether he was inspired,” the official said. “We don’t have any of that.
“So, the ideology, the connection to international terrorism, we might flesh that out as we go through the results of search warrants, looking for computers, discs, things like this. Search warrants that we did Sunday night at the residence in Elizabeth,” the official added.
“Here’s a guy who has been involved in what appears to be four bombings in rapid succession in recent days in crowded places,” the official said. “So we need to get him.”
The motive behind the bombings was not immediately clear, though New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described it as an apparent act of "terrorism." The United States has seen a series of large-scale attacks, including mass shootings in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California, over the past year.
"Yesterday there was no hint of any connection foreign terrorism.... But there may very well turn out to be a link to foreign terrorist organizations, and that we'll find out today or in the coming days," Cuomo told a news conference in New York on Monday.
Police in Linden received a call about a man sleeping in a doorway and when one officer, who recognized the person as the bombing suspect, tried to rouse him, Rahami opened fire and hit the officer in the abdomen. The officer was wearing a bullet proof-vest, said Linden Police Captain James Sarnicki. Rahami also fired through the windshield of a patrol car, wounding another officer. The wounds to both officers are not thought to be life-threatening, he said.
Local resident Romel Johnson, 46, said he was near the scene and heard about 10 to 12 gunshots in Linden, followed by the arrival of more police cars and an ambulance.
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Update: Ahmad Khan Rahami, the Manhattan bombing suspect is now in custody:
WNBC: Ahmad Rahami in custody after shooting police officer in Linden, NJ, source says https://t.co/YEXNyiIp4h— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) September 19, 2016
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Shortly after the NYPD released the ID of the alleged bombmaker in Saturday's terrorist attack on NYC, a massive manhunt started on Monday morning as the FBI announced the identity of a suspect wanted for questioning in connection with weekend explosions in New York and New Jersey. The identification of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, sparked a frenzied search around the region, as officials suggested that as many as four separate incidents could be linked, and may have be connected to an international network.
And while it is unknown if it is related to the manhunt, moments ago the Breaking News twitter feed reported that two police officers were shot in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the location of the latest discovery of 5 improvied explosive devices, and the alleged location of Rahami.
So far we have been able to independently verify that at least one officer has been shot in Linden NJ:
Linden NJ Active Shooter 500 Elizabeth Ave LPD reporting they have 1 officer who took around to his vest, requesting EMS to the scene— SBA (@SBANYPD) September 19, 2016
The shooter is allegedly in custody and a suspicious package has been found on the scene:
Linden NJ Active Shooter 500 East Elizabeth Ave 1 perp in custody and they just found a suspicious package req Bomb Sq & K-9 to the scene— SBA (@SBANYPD) September 19, 2016
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While we await more information on the police officer shooting, we report what NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said this morning on CBS when he reported that “you have some similarities among the bombs and the way they were made and put together and some of the technology that was used in the bombs. So there is some suggestion that there might have been a common identity across all the bombs. But again this is preliminary.
“I suspect there might be a foreign connection. That’s what we’re hearing today as the investigation goes on.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) warned that Rahami, a resident of Elizabeth, N.J., should be considered armed and dangerous, but declined to detail how he might be have been involved in the Saturday evening blast in Manhattan, which injured at least 29 people but left no casualties.
The New Jersey State Police on Monday said that Rahami was wanted in connection with both the New York and Seaside Park explosions. President Obama had been updated on the developments, spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Before dawn on Monday, FBI agents and Elizabeth police reportedly raided multiple homes and small businesses in Elizabeth, including an apartment suspected to belong to Rahami.
Hours earlier, agents questioned five people in a car stopped on a Brooklyn highway in connection with the investigation.
“I can safely say that that stop of that vehicle was helpful and important,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We know [police have] gotten a lot more information in the last 24 hours along with FBI, and I do think each hour is changing the situation now,” he added. “Things are emerging very rapidly.
“But this individual is the key, getting him in for questioning. I think that's going to tell us a lot as to whether it was a lone wolf or something bigger.” The FBI described Rahami as being approximately 5’6” tall and weighing roughly 200 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and dark facial hair.
Across the city, emergency alerts flashed on New Yorkers’ cell phones to warn them of Rahami’s identity, and to call 911 if they spot him. The warning appeared to be the first of its kind ever deployed in America’s largest city.
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The manhunt kicked off just as diplomats from around the globe were descending on New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, an event notorious for halting traffic and shutting down sections of the city over security concerns.
According to The Hill, the police presence is only likely to escalate, officials suggested, as more heavily-armed officers take position across the city. So far, there are no public clues as to what may have inspired the apparent terror plot, which notably did not target major New York tourist sites or transit hubs. Officials said there were no signs of a connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or other similar extremist groups.
Finally, moments ago, Bloomberg confirmed what we reported earlier, namely the possibility of a terrorist cell being behind the NY and NJ bombings;
- U.S. OFFICIALS PROBING POSSIBLE TERRORIST CELL IN BOMBINGS
This is a developing story.