A pipe bomb exploded Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey before a charity race.
Federal prosecutors have charged Ahmad Khan Rahami with planting a series of bombs in NY and New Jersey, including one that injured 31 people when it blew up on a busy street.
There is “no indication” there is a terrorist cell operating in area, according to FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney – though he noted that investigation isn’t complete.
Authorities questioned several people early Monday after auto stop in Brooklyn as they worked to determine if there is a connection between an explosion that rocked a bustling New York City neighborhood, an unexploded pressure-cooker device found blocks away, an earlier pipe bomb blast at a New Jersey shore town or explosive devices found across the state near a train station.
Late Monday, a hospitalized Rahami was charged in New Jersey with five counts of attempted murder of police officers in connection with the shootout and was held on $5.2 million bail.
Rahami was identified by investigators using the cellphone attached on the explosive device made out from a pressure cooker, as well as his fingerprints left on the device, according to authorities.
Criminal complaints in Manhattan and New Jersey federal courts provided chilling descriptions of what authorities say drove the Afghan-born US citizen to set off explosives in NY and New Jersey, including a bomb that injured over two dozen people when it blew up on a busy Manhattan street.
“We have to let this investigation unfold”, she said.
The court complaints describe Rahami buying bomb-making equipment so openly between June and August that he ordered citric acid, ball bearings and electronic igniters on eBay and had them delivered to a Perth Amboy, New Jersey, business where he worked until earlier this month.
Rahami pulled a gun and shot the officer – who was wearing a bulletproof vest – in the torso, and more officers joined in a gun battle along the street and brought Rahami down, police Capt. James Sarnicki said.
Police officers stand on Elizabeth Ave., in Linden, N.J., near where an Afghan immigrant wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked a New York City neighborhood and a New Jersey shore town was taken into custody after being wounded in a shootout with police, authorities said, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Linden.
In a lucky break that helped authorities to thwart a second detonation on Saturday, the men walked away with the bag after taking out what turned out to be a homemade bomb and leaving it exposed on the pavement on 27th Street.
No one was injured in the other blasts.
In a similar incident on Sunday night, a device exploded near a train station in New Jersey as an Federal Bureau of Investigation bomb squad was attempting to disarm it with a robot.
Five people were pulled over Sunday night in a vehicle associated with Rahami, but they were questioned and released, Sweeney said, declining to say whether they might face any charges in future.
Also on Saturday, a man stabbed and injured nine people at a mall in the northern USA state of Minnesota before a police officer fatally shot him. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. But authorities have not drawn any connection between the bloodshed there and the bombings. “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”, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Monday.
President Obama commended law enforcement and counter-terrorism officials for their handling of what appeared to be terrorist-inspired attacks over the weekend, asking Americans to not give in to fear.
The Rahamis charged in the lawsuit that they were targeted by neighbors because they are Muslims.
Ryan McCann, of Elizabeth, said that he often ate at the restaurant and recently began seeing the younger Rahami working there more.