The arrest of a suspect in connection with weekend bombings was the culmination of classic police work, bystander intervention, and incompetence on behalf of the suspect himself.
Police in Linden, New Jersey, apprehended 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami after a shootout late Monday morning.
Rahami was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer on Monday. Prosecutors are still deciding charges related to the bombing.
Rahami is suspected of being involved in three incidents throughout the weekend — a bombing along the route of a New Jersey charity race Saturday morning, a bombing Saturday night in New York City that injured 29 people, and the planting of additional devices in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Sunday night.
It seems as though whatever plot the bomber was trying to carry out didn’t go as planned.
On Saturday morning, the bomb that went off at the race in New Jersey detonated while no bystanders were around, so no one was injured and no structures were damaged. And the device didn’t work to its full potential — it consisted of three pipe bombs tied together, only one of which detonated.
The timing was also off. The start of the race had, coincidentally, been delayed, so the bomb exploded 30 minutes after the race would have started, according to Reuters.
Later that night in New York City, a bomb went off near the intersection of West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Because the bomb had been placed in a dumpster, which had thick metal sides, the explosion didn’t kill anyone, and nearly all of the people injured escaped without any serious damage. Officials said the device had been packed with BBs and ball bearings.
Another device was then found on nearby West 27th Street.
The suspect failed on multiple levels here — he was caught on surveillance video planting the bombs, the second bomb didn’t detonate, and the mobile phone taped to the bomb provided clues to authorities that helped identify him. Police also found a fingerprint that helped identify Rahami.
Then, on Sunday, authorities said two homeless people found a backpack full of explosives abandoned outside a restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and reported it. The bag, which contained five pipe bombs, did not explode.
“They probably saved hundreds of people,” Mayor Christian Bollwage said.
Shortly after that, police publicly identified Rahami as a suspect. Authorities sent emergency mobile phone notifications with the suspect’s name and identifying information, and the FBI released a photo of Rahami, which was broadcast widely on the news.
This is what eventually led to Rahami’s arrest.
Harinder Bains, who owns Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, New Jersey, had been watching the news and saw Rahami’s photo, according to CNN. Later on Monday, he went over to his bar and found a man sleeping in the doorway who looked like Rahami, so he called police.
An officer arrived and identified him, and after an exchange of gunfire, Rahami was taken into custody. Here’s footage of Rahami running from police prior to being captured:
— ABC News (@ABC) September 19, 2016
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