New York bombing suspect held after gun battle with police

An Afghan immigrant wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked a New York City neighbourhood and a New Jersey shore town was captured yesterday after being wounded in a gun battle with police, authorities said.

Wounded Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police. Picture: AP
Wounded Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police. Picture: AP

Footage showed 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher in Linden, New Jersey. He appeared to be conscious and looking around. His upper right arm looked bandaged and bloodied.

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

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The arrest came just hours after police issued a photo of Rahami, a naturalised US citizen from Afghanistan who lived with family in an apartment in Elizabeth, New Jersey, over a restaurant owned by his father.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said that late Monday morning, the owner of a bar reported someone asleep in his doorway. A police officer went to investigate and recognised the man as Rahami, police and the mayor said.

Rahami pulled a gun and shot the officer – who was wearing a bulletproof vest – in the torso, and more officers joined in a running gun battle along the street.

In addition to the blast that injured 29 people in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood on Saturday, an unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found blocks away, and a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey shore town before a charity race. No one was injured there. On Sunday, five explosive devices were discovered in a trash can at an Elizabeth train station.

Also on Saturday, a man who authorities say referred to Allah wounded nine people in a stabbing rampage at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Authorities have not drawn any connection between the violence in Minnesota and the bombings in the New York area.

Citing the FBI, New Jersey State Police said that the bombings in Chelsea and the New Jersey shore town Seaside Park were connected.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as investigators gathered information, they learned there were “certain commonalities among the bombs,” leading authorities to believe “that there was a common group behind the bombs.”

President Barack Obama said it was “extremely fortunate” nobody was killed in the bombings.