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Suspected New York Bomber Wounded in Shootout with Police

  • Ken Schwartz

A still image captured from a video from WABC television shows a conscious man believed to be New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami being loaded into an ambulance after a shoot-out with police in Linden, New Jersey, Sept. 19, 2016.

A still image captured from a video from WABC television shows a conscious man believed to be New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami being loaded into an ambulance after a shoot-out with police in Linden, New Jersey, Sept. 19, 2016.

The suspect in Saturday night's bombing in New York City that wounded 29 people is in a hospital recovering from bullet wounds after a shootout with police.

Prosecutors have charged 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami with five counts of attempted murder stemming from the shootout that wounded two officers.

Police arrested Rahami in Linden, New Jersey — outside Manhattan — hours after police sent out a city-wide bulletin with his picture, saying he was wanted for questioning.

A bar owner in Linden called police Monday morning to complain that a man was sleeping in a doorway of his business. Officers recognized the man as Rahami, who opened fire, wounding two policemen before he was injured.

None of the wounds are considered life-threatening.

Police officers walk near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., Sept. 19, 2016.

Police officers walk near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., Sept. 19, 2016.

The FBI is not saying how they zeroed in on Rahami as the bombing suspect. But investigators reportedly saw him on surveillance video at the bomb site in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, and near a second bomb allegedly left several blocks away. The second explosive was found before it could detonate.

Investigators also reportedly found fingerprints on a bomb fragment.

Other bombs

The FBI wants to question Rahami about another bombing Saturday morning in Seaside Park, New Jersey, south of New York, that forced the cancellation of a charity road race. No one was injured.

Other bombs were found in a garbage can at a train station Sunday morning in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the bombs exploded while a robot was trying to disarm it. Again, no one was hurt.

FILE - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials label and collect evidence near the site of an explosion which took place on Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, Sept. 18, 2016.

FILE - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials label and collect evidence near the site of an explosion which took place on Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, Sept. 18, 2016.

Rahami's alleged motive for the bombings is unknown.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Rahami is the only suspect so far. The mayor on Monday said there is every reason to believe the bombings were acts of terrorism, and the FBI is looking for any links to foreign terror groups.

Obama: We have to be vigilant

Speaking in New York, President Barack Obama said the investigation is moving rapidly and that everyone is working together to get to the bottom of what happened. He said terrorists and extremists want to hurt innocent people, inspire fear and disrupt life.

President Barack Obama speaks about last Saturday's bombing in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood in New York, Sept. 19, 2016.

President Barack Obama speaks about last Saturday's bombing in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood in New York, Sept. 19, 2016.

"We have to be vigilant and aggressive, both on preventing senseless acts of violence but also making sure that we find those who carry out such acts and bring them to justice,” he said. “We all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don't succumb to that fear."

One New Yorker told VOA that the bombing was unsettling, but not surprising.

"There is a security to this city. Sure there are days where I have my doubts about that, but because I do feel this camaraderie in the city, I do feel relatively safe."

Suspect called friendly

Suspected bomber Rahami was born in Afghanistan and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He and his family run a fried-chicken restaurant in Linden that has a steady number of loyal customers. But it also had trouble with the city of Linden for what neighbors said was round-the-clock noise and crowds at the eatery.

Some of the restaurant's customers say they are shocked that Rahami is a suspect, calling him friendly. They say he let local bands practice in the back of the restaurant, and gave them free food.

New York City Afghan community leader Masjid Dar al Taqwa condemned the bombings.

"Everyone ... is shocked and saddened by what has happened," he told VOA. "They condemn all forms of violence. They just want to live peacefully."

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