The multiple explosions of improvised explosive devices in downtown Manhattan that injured nearly 30 people, and the other crude bombs identified by the US security personnel on September 27th in New York and New Jersey have led to concerns about the safety of the people across the nation.
Nearly two days of intense search for Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Afghanistan, resulting in the apprehension of the “terror suspect” in Linden, New Jersey, following a shootout with police, Sept. 19 morning, was made possible because an Indian-American business owner alerted had the police.
Harinder Bains, the owner of a Deli and a bar in Linden, N.J., spotted what he thought was a homeless man sleeping in the hallway of the bar when he came to open his Deli, Bains told CNN. The massive manhunt in New York and New Jersey and the widespread, 24/7 publicity about Rahami’s physical appearance, and warnings from the FBI about the suspect being armed and dangerous, helped Bains recognize the suspect and call the police.
Harinder Bains, who said he had been watching CNN at another business across the street, recognized 28-year-old Rahami outside Merdie’s Tavern and alerted police. Rahami, who seemed to be napping, had let himself into the small enclosure outside the nondescript brick building.
Bains’ phone call led authorities to the bar, which is about three miles south of where police found a backpack containing bombs. The confrontation sparked a shootout that ended in Rahami’s capture.
At least two officers were injured and taken to local hospitals, where they are in stable condition. Rahami is wanted for questioning in this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey. People who were in the area at the time gathered after the gunshots rang out and captured footage of Rahami, who looked dazed as medics wheeled him into an ambulance.
“I was watching CNN news on my laptop,” Bains said in a CNN interview. He thought to himself, “This guy looks like so much like the photo I saw on the news.” After giving it some thought, Bains, on the advice of a friend, called Linden police telling them there was a suspicious man “he was not looking good,” and they should come over. The police arrived within five minutes, Bains said. From inside his Deli, Bains witnessed the violent encounter, including how Rahami bolted away but kept shooting at police injuring two officers, before being brought down. “It’s something you never thought would happen in front of you,” he is quoted saying in the NJ.com news report.
“It was all surreal, very scary. I did my part: When you see something, say something. I’m not a hero, the cops are the hero,” Bains said. In their press conference, police acknowledged that a member of the public had alerted them to Rahami, without naming Bains. Rahami stands charged on five counts of attempted murder and two gun charges.
Rahami not only traveled to Afghanistan some years ago, but also to Pakistan several times, including in April 2013 when he stayed for one year, New York Times reported. A CNN report also said Rahami was married to a woman of Pakistani origin, that Rahami had applied for her passport in 2011. New Jersey Democratic Congressman Albio Sires, confirmed this when he recalled that Rahami had approached his office via email from Pakistan in 2014, requesting help to facilitate a visa for his wife. Rahami’s wife and their child, left the U.S. a few days before the bombings and were intercepted in the United Arab Emirates. The FBI is working with UAE and Pakistan to find out more about the wife, according to CNN
At first flush, news reports appear to indicate Rahami was radicalized in those trips abroad, typical of many other U.S. citizens influenced by outside Islamic terrorist groups. Police however, remain reluctant to say so outright at this time. Some of the details about Rahami dug out by media and provided by law enforcement reveal Rahami has previously had brushes with the law, including at least once, for a knifing episode involving a family member. His father told media stationed outside his restaurant Sept. 20, that he had reported his son to the FBI twice and that the agency had conducted a two-month investigation and told him his son was clean, NJ.com reported. Rahami was not listed on U.S. counterterrorism databases, three U.S. officials told Reuters.