Chelsea bombing suspect arrested in N.J. after gunfight

A photo police issued on an e-mail alert for Ahmad Khan Rahami, the chief suspect in Saturday's Chelsea bombing. He was spotted Monday in Linden, N.J., by a police officer and, after a gunfight, was arrested.
A photo that police issued on an e-mail alert for Ahmad Khan Rahami, the chief suspect in Saturday’s Chelsea bombing. He was reportedly recognized on Monday sleeping in a doorway in Linden, N.J., by a police officer and, after a gunfight, was arrested.

BY CAROLINE SPIVACK AND STAFF | Updated Mon., Sept. 19, 5:42 p.m.: On Monday morning, police captured a man they described as the primary suspect in the Chelsea bombing on Sunday and an earlier bombing that same day in New Jersey.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent, of Elizabeth, N.J., was taken into custody Monday in Linden, N.J., after a gunfight there with law-enforcement officers.

According to The New York Times, police had issued a cell phone alert to millions of area residents, telling them to be on the lookout for Rahami, who was described as “armed and dangerous.” A police officer identified him sleeping in a doorway, and a gunfight promptly ensued. Rahami shot the officer once, but the bullet was stopped by his bulletproof vest, while the suspect was shot multiple times, before being taken into custody.

According to the Times, Rahami has been identified by surveillance videos as having planted the pressure-cooker-style bomb that exploded on W. 23rd St., as well as a similar one on W. 27th St. that was discovered by a local resident and did not explode. His fingerprint was also allegedly found on one of the devices.

Police also believe Rahami is responsible for “a backup pile” of pipe bombs that were found in Elizabeth, the Times reported.

His family runs a chicken fast-food restaurant in Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, earlier, federal agents arrested five New Jersey men in Brooklyn on Sun., Sept. 18, believing they had a hand in Saturday’s bombing in Chelsea.

Officials pulled the five over on the Belt Parkway in Bay Ridge Sunday night after they came over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island. Cops could not provide a time, but the arrest came around 9:30 p.m., according to a local politician’s social-media post.

“Update from the NYPD: About an hour ago, the FBI took several individuals into custody on the Belt Parkway in the area underneath the Verrazano Bridge, with a possible connection to the bombing last night in Chelsea,” wrote state Senator Martin Golden, a Republican who represents Bay Ridge, on Instagram at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

The arrest came as authorities shut down an Elizabeth, N.J., train station after finding multiple pipe bombs in a garbage can. The explosives put the feds on the trail of the five men, though an F.B.I. spokesman would not say exactly how.

Law enforcement pursued them into Brooklyn believing they might be connected to Rahami.

The F.B.I. questioned the five men at the bureau’s Manhattan headquarters. Authorities believed they were on their way to the airport. However, later on Monday, the five individuals were released. Officials now believe Rahami acted alone, according to media reports.