Immigrant wanted in NY-area bombings captured in shootout

captured

As the East Coast was rattled by the bombings, a man who authorities say referred to Allah wounded nine people in a stabbing rampage at a Minnesota mall Saturday before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. Authorities are investigating it as a possible terrorist attack but have not drawn any connection between the bloodshed there and the bombings.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim advocacy group, welcomed Rahami’s arrest. The organization and the Afghan Embassy in Washington condemned the bombings.

Around the time Rahami was captured, President Barack Obama was in New York on a previously scheduled visit for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. He called on Americans to show the world “we will never give in to fear.”

Rahami lived with his family on a busy street a few miles from the Newark airport. An AP reporter went to the building that houses the family’s restaurant and home, but it was cordoned off.

Rahami’s father, Mohammad, and two of Rahami’s brothers sued the city of Elizabeth in 2011 after it passed an ordinance requiring their restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, to close early because of complaints from neighbors that it was a late-night nuisance.

The Rahamis charged in the lawsuit that they were targeted by neighbors because they are Muslims. The lawsuit was terminated in 2012 after Mohammad Rahami pleaded guilty to blocking police from enforcing the restrictions on the restaurant.

Ryan McCann, of Elizabeth, said that he often ate at the restaurant and recently began seeing the younger Rahami working there more.

“He’s always in there. He’s a very friendly guy, that’s what’s so scary. It’s hard when it’s home,” McCann said.

On Sunday, a federal law enforcement official said the Chelsea bomb contained a residue of Tannerite, an explosive often used for target practice that can be picked up in many sporting goods stores.

One of the five devices found at the Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot tried to disarm it. No one was hurt.

Luck and some scavengers played a role in the investigation: Two homeless men grabbed a backpack left on a trash can near the Elizabeth train station, only to discover it contained several apparent pipe bombs. They quickly reported the find to police, said Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage.

On Saturday, two men walking down a street in New York saw a suitcase on a sidewalk, opened it, discarded the pressure cooker they found inside and walked off with the bag, police said. Later that evening, after the blast in Chelsea, state troopers found the unexploded device.

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Pearson reported from New York. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Jennifer Peltz in New York; Dake Kang and Michael Catalini in Elizabeth; and Eric Tucker, Alicia A. Caldwell and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

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