Seaside Park/Manhattan/Elizabeth: Suspect Arrested in Linden After Shootout With Police
Ahmad Khan Rahami (see photo), age 28, of Elizabeth (Union County), who was wanted by the FBI in connection with explosive-devices incidents in New York and New Jersey, was taken into custody on September 19 after a shootout with police in Linden (Union County). Rahami was wounded and is currently hospitalized. Two Linden police officers suffered non-life-threatening wounds. Rahami is a suspect in an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, as well as incidents in Seaside Park (Ocean County) and Elizabeth (see items below). He has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, as well as weapons offenses, in connection with the shootout in Linden. Federal terrorism charges are likely to follow.
Although an active investigation is continuing, law enforcement officials are not seeking any other individuals at this time. Now that Rahami is in custody, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the focus of the investigation is shifting to whether he acted alone and what his motivation was. William Sweeney, the FBI’s Assistant Director in charge of the New York office, said there is currently “no indication that a [terror] cell is operating in the area.”
The Manhattan explosion occurred in a dumpster on West 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Witnesses described a loud noise and a large plume of smoke. Twenty-nine people were wounded in the explosion. None of the injuries were life-threatening, and all the victims have been released from the hospital. A second device, a pressure cooker with a cell phone and wiring attached, was found by responding New York State Police troopers about four blocks from the explosion. It did not detonate.
Elizabeth: Explosive Devices Found Near Train Station; One Detonates During Bomb Squad Operations
An explosive device found in a backpack near the Elizabeth train station detonated in the early morning hours of September 19 as a bomb robot was attempting to render it safe. The detonation was not intentional. No one was injured. The device was one of five found in the backpack. The investigation is continuing.
Seaside Park Update: Two Devices Wired to the Pipe Bomb Failed to Detonate
The investigation is continuing into the pipe bomb explosion on September 17 in a trash can (see photo) on the course of the Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K walk/run in Seaside Park. Two other devices were wired together in the same trash can, but did not detonate. These devices, as well as those found in Manhattan and Elizabeth, have been rendered safe and are being examined at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
The pipe bomb detonated at about 9:30 a.m. The race was scheduled to begin at 9:00, but the start was delayed because of heavy registration. This delay may have literally saved lives, because when the pipe bomb detonated, no runners had progressed that far along the course. There were no injuries as a result of the explosion. On the advice of the Seaside Park Police Department, the race was canceled.
Minnesota: Nine Wounded in Stabbing Attack at Shopping Mall
In St. Cloud, Minnesota, about 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis, nine people were hospitalized on September 17 after a stabbing attack at a shopping mall. The suspect, Dahir Adan, age 22, was wearing a uniform of a private security guard, made at least one reference to Allah, and asked at least one person if he was a Muslim. The suspect was shot dead by an off-duty police officer.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has acknowledged the attacker as “a soldier of the Islamic State.” This is a term that ISIS has used to refer to homegrown extremists who are inspired but not necessarily directed by the group.