The gripping events unfolded in less than 40 hours.
Ahmad Kahn Rahami, the man suspected of carrying out a successful bombing in New York that injured 29 people, as well as planting multiple bombs around the city and New Jersey, could not evade a massive manhunt determined to uproot a terrorist.
Rahami is suspected of first striking in Seaside Park, New Jersey, where a trash can exploded at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, just before the start of a Marine Corps charity run. No injuries were reported, and the incident mostly flew under news radar.
Then, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday a deafening explosion blasted apart a large dumpster on a bustling block of West 23rd Street between 6th and 7th avenues. Twenty-nine people were hospitalized for injuries from flying shards of glass and metal.
Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled the incident as an “intentional act,” and initially said that authorities did not have reason to believe there were ties to foreign terrorism.
Shortly after the explosion, a second bomb was discovered a few blocks from the blast in the Chelsea neighborhood. A wired-up pressure-cooker, with a cellphone attached as a detonator, was found in a plastic bag on the sidewalk. Surveillance footage released later showed two scavengers discovering a suitcase containing the bomb. They removed the bomb and set it down on the ground, and made off with the rollaway luggage.
Attention briefly turned to a Tumblr blog claiming responsibility for the act on behalf of the LGBTQ community. The blog was removed, and proved to be a red herring as the NYPD, FBI, AFT and state police pursued other leads.
Fingerprints taken from the pressure-cooker led police to a more plausible suspect: Rahami, 28, an Afghanistan-born New Jersey man who was living and working at the location of a family-owned fried chicken restaurant on Elmora Street in Elizabeth.
Surveillance video revealed clear images of Rahami at the site of the Chelsea bombing and a few blocks away where the pressure cooker was found.
Just before 9 p.m. on Sunday night a packet of pipe bombs turned up 500 feet from the Elizabeth train station, which also was found by two scavengers searching in a trash can.
On Monday morning Notify NYC, a cellphone alert system, was activated for the first time with the message “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.”
Following a cascade of details and widely circulated images of the suspect, a resident of Linden, New Jersey, alerted police that he recognized the man he saw on CNN, Rahami, sleeping in the vestibule of Murdie’s Tavern.
Linden police closed in on Rahami just after 11 a.m. A bloody gunfight ensued as the suspect opened fire on the officers, injuring two, before he was hit and captured.
Video of the gunfight and images of Rahami being loaded into an ambulance went public within minutes of the skirmish.
Monday afternoon, after undergoing surgery at a Newark hospital for his wound, Rahimi was charged with five counts of attempted murder and two gun charges. He currently awaits federal charges.
Video shows bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami in custody in Linden, New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/NrVJCPNAkC— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) September 19, 2016
NEW JERSEY: BREAKING NEWS: Terrorist Ahmad Rahami arrested in Linden, NJ after shooting at police officers. PHOTO: pic.twitter.com/21bdZYoCHy— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) September 19, 2016