Ahmad Khan Rahami: What we know about the bombing suspect


Credit: Law enforcement source

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LINDEN, N.J. -- After bombings in New York and New Jersey, investigators say they want to talk with one man: Ahmad Khan Rahami.

Soon, they could have the chance.

Ahmad Khan Rahami
Ahmad Khan Rahami

Police captured Rahami after a shootout with the bombing suspect in Linden, New Jersey, on Monday morning.

His dramatic arrest came just hours after officials plastered his photo on a wanted poster, saying Rahami was wanted for questioning in connection with Saturday's blast that injured 29 people in New York City and an explosion that occurred near a charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, earlier that day.

Authorities haven't publicly detailed how they believe he's connected to the bombings. But they've said they're not looking for any other suspects.

"Now that we have this suspect in custody, the investigation can focus on other aspects," New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said, "such as whether this individual acted alone, and what his motivations may have been."

Here's what we've learned so far about Rahami:

What's his alleged connection to the bombings?

• Investigators "directly linked" Rahami to devices from New York and from Saturday's explosion in New Jersey, FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said Monday. He declined to provide details about the evidence, citing the ongoing investigation.

• According to multiple officials, investigators also believe Rahami is the man seen on surveillance video dragging a duffel bag near the site of the New York explosion, and the location where police eventually found a suspicious pressure cooker four blocks away.

• Rahami's last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the FBI says. That's the same city where a backpack with multiple bombs inside was found Sunday night, but so far authorities haven't publicly said whether they believe Rahami is linked to those explosives. Sources say they believe he is.

What's his background?

• The 28-year-old was born in Afghanistan and is a naturalized US citizen, according to the FBI.

• He traveled to Afghanistan multiple times in the past, according to law enforcement sources. He was questioned every time he returned to the United States, as is standard procedure, but was not on the radar for possible radicalization, one official said. Another official said Rahami traveled overseas a good bit, also visiting countries not in the Middle East.

• He majored in criminal justice at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, school spokesman Tom Peterson said. Rahami attended the college from 2010-2012 but did not graduate.

• Rahami's family lives above First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, the city's mayor says. The family has a history of clashes with the community over the restaurant, which used to be open 24 hours a day, Mayor Chris Bollwage said. Investigators searched the building Monday, Bollwage said.

• The Rahami family alleged discrimination and harassment in a lawsuit filed against the city and its police department in 2011, arguing that officials conspired against them by subjecting them to citations for allegedly violating a city ordinance on hours of operation. The suit alleged that police officers and city representatives had said "the restaurant presented a danger to the community." It also accused a neighboring business owner of saying, "Muslims make too much trouble in this country" and "Muslims don't belong here." The defendants, including police officers and city officials, denied the allegations.

• In a Facebook post Monday, a family member asked for privacy.

"I would like people to respect my family's privacy and let us have our peace after this tragic time," wrote Zobyedh Rahami, who's believed to be Ahmad Rahami's sister.

How did authorities find him?

• Investigators first identified Rahami Sunday afternoon through a fingerprint, according to a senior law enforcement official. A cell phone connected to the pressure cooker also provided some clues, the official said.

• Harinder Bains, the owner of Merdie's Tavern in Linden, New Jersey, said he spotted Rahami sleeping in the doorway of his bar Monday morning and called police. Bains said he recognized Rahami after seeing pictures of the suspect on CNN.

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