NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man being sought in connection with an explosion in Seaside Park, New Jersey and another blast in Chelsea is believed to be in custody, Linden police said.
Authorities have been looking for Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan.
Linden police said they found Rahami after officers responded to a call of a man sleeping in a hallway of a local business.
When a responding officer approached the man, the man raised his head and that’s when the officer recognized him as Rahami, Capt. James Sarnicki with Linden police told CBS2.
“The suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the officer and striking him in the abdomen,” Sarnicki said. “The gentlemen got up and started walking down the street in a westerly direction. I’m told that he was randomly discharging his handgun and one of the officers was able to get close enough to him and return fire.”
Linden Police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami on Sept. 19, 2016 after an intense manhunt. (credit: Twitter.com/BuffingActions)
Sarnicki said Rahami was still on the scene and that the FBI was responding.
The NYPD and the FBI first said Monday morning that Rahami was being sought in the Chelsea explosion that left 29 people hurt.
New Jersey State Police said later Monday, citing the FBI, that the bombing in Chelsea was connected to the Seaside Park blast that happened before a charity 5K race. No one was injured in that incident.
Saturday night’s blast on West 23rd and 7th Avenue injured 29 people and the unexploded device was found several blocks away on West 27th Street. Officials say surveillance video placed Rahami at both locations carrying some type of package.
Sources told CBS2 that the video along with finger prints on parts of the device helped authorities identify Rahami.
Investigators believe Rahami may be part of a terror cell and consider him extremely dangerous, CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues reported.
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.”
In the immediate aftermath of that bombing, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo were careful to say there was no evidence of a link to international terrorism. Both said Monday that appears to be changing.
“There may very well turn out to be a link to foreign organizations,” Cuomo said.
De Blasio said Monday that there is “not enough information” to say if Rahami was acting alone or if others were involved with the incident, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
“I think that it is premature to use a word like cell,” he told 1010 WINS. “This may have been the work of one individual, it may be more than one individual. We need more information.”
The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed throughout the night and early Monday on the investigation into bombs found in New York City and New Jersey. Spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama will comment publicly later Monday.
On Sunday night, FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped “a vehicle of interest” in the investigation of the Chelsea explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.
Five people who were inside the vehicle are believed to be “associates” of the suspect and at least one of the passengers is a family member.
“There was a vehicle that came to the attention of the NYPD and it was trailed, it was stopped,” de Blasio said. “Individuals were questioned.”
The car was traveling from Staten Island to Brooklyn and police suspect the five were traveling to JFK airport. The five people were detained and continue to be questioned. They have not been charged.
Another device exploded Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The race was canceled and no one was injured.
On Sunday night, five devices were found in a trash can near a train station in Elizabeth. The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package.
One of the devices exploded as a bomb squad attempted to disarm it with a robot. There were no reports of injuries.
The FBI has also released a wanted posted for Rahami.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the FBI’s Toll-Free Tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).