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Suspect in NYC, NJ bombings arrested, charged with attempted murder

(RNN) – Law enforcement officials have arrested the man wanted for questioning in relation to bombs that went off in New York and New Jersey this past weekend, according to police in Linden, NJ.

Police were involved in a shootout with the man, 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, on Monday morning before taking him into custody. He has been charged with attempted murder after firing at the officers.

Two Linden police officers were injured in the gunfire exchange, one in the torso and the other in the hand. The officer shot in the torso was wearing a bulletproof vest.

NYPD and federal law enforcement officials released the identity and photograph of Rahami on Monday morning. Linden is about 4 miles south of Elizabeth, where Rahami resides. He was shot in the leg before he was taken into custody.

“We have directly linked Rahami to the devices in New York and to the one in New Jersey on Saturday,” said FBI Agent William Sweeney.

No other suspects are being sought in relation to the case.

Sweeney said they have not linked Rahami to any terror cells, but they are investigating his trips to Afghanistan. He also would not comment on motivation, saying it’s part of the investigation.

Officials identified him as a suspect through surveillance video and a fingerprint found on a third pressure cooker device that did not explode in Manhattan, according to CNN.

A mailman who witnessed the gunfight said he was spotted sleeping inside the vestibule of a nearby bar.

“Folks around here, they don’t get scared. They’re tough, they’re resilient, they go about their business every single day,” President Barack Obama said during a news conference Monday. “We do not, and never will, give in to fear.”

There were no deaths, but 29 people were hurt Saturday night when an improvised bomb went off in a dumpster in the Chelsea district of New York. Rahami is connected to another bombing 80 miles away in Seaside, NJ, earlier Saturday morning. The bomb was in a trash can along the route of a 5K charity run for the Marine Corps. No one was injured, and the event was canceled.

The next day another undetonated explosive device built inside a pressure cooker was found four blocks away. A bomb squad removed it.

Investigators are working under the belief Rahami was part of a group of people planning the attack, but have not released any information detailing that belief.

Sen. Martin Golden said in an Instagram post Sunday night the FBI arrested several people with a possible connection to the bombings beneath the Verrazzano Bridge. An unnamed law enforcement official told the Associated Press at least five people were being questioned but did not release specific details.

Officials are also looking into if Rahami is connected to a backpack containing five pipe bombs found Sunday night on top of a trash can at a train station in Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said a pair of homeless men took the backpack because they thought it contained valuables, dropped it when they realized what was inside and went to the police station to alert officers.

In attempting to disarm the explosive, two robots sent in by the FBI at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning clipped wire, accidentally detonating it. One robot was destroyed, the other heavily damaged.

No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for any of the bomb incidents.

“Although it’s an ongoing investigation, we have every reason to believe that this is an act of terror,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a news conference.

The mayor also said there will be increased police presence in New York City because of this incident and the start of the U.N. General Assembly, which begins Monday.

NBC News reported Rahami’s family filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 alleging their business was targeted because they were Muslim. The family operated the First American Fried Chicken restaurant and lived in an apartment above the restaurant.

The complaints were related to the restaurant violating city ordinances by staying open too late.

NBC said the lawsuit was dropped when Mohammad Rahami, the suspect’s father, pleaded guilty. The report also said the suspect’s name was not attached to the lawsuit.

On CNN, Rep. Peter King, R-NY, said Rahami had a previous domestic violence charge from trying to stab his sister. She dropped the charges after he was arrested.

Obama said there is no connection between the bombings and another attack at a Minnesota mall this past weekend.

Nine people were attacked Saturday, none fatally, at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud. An ISIS-affiliated news agency used Twitter to call the person responsible “a soldier of the Islamic State.”

The attacker, identified by his father as 22-year-old Dahir Adan, was fatally shot. He was of Somali descent, born in Kenya, and had lived in the U.S. for the past 15 years. He had been a student at St. Cloud State University but was not enrolled this fall, a school spokesman told the Associated Press.

Copyright 2016 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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