Suspect charged in NYC, N.J. bombings
New York — Bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was charged Tuesday with planting a series of explosives in New York and New Jersey, including one that injured more than two dozen people when it blew up on a busy Manhattan street.
A federal criminal complaint was unsealed Tuesday as more details emerged about the Afghan-born U.S. citizen’s past, including the disclosure that the FBI had looked into him in 2014 but came up with nothing.
Before the federal charges were filed, Rahmani, 28, was already being held on $5.2 million bail, charged with the attempted murder of police officers during the shootout that led to his capture Monday outside a bar in Linden, New Jersey.
Rahami remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the leg, forearm and shoulder.
Federal agents have attempted to question Rahami in the hospital. But Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., who received a classified briefing from the FBI, said Rahami was not cooperating.
The FBI’s 2014 inquiry began after his father expressed concerns his son might be a terrorist, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. During the inquiry, the father backed away from talk of terrorism and told investigators that he simply meant his son was hanging out with the wrong crowd, including gang members, and acting like a thug, the officials said.
In any case, the FBI checked its databases and other sources and closed the inquiry in a matter of weeks after seeing nothing tying the Afghan-born U.S. citizen to terrorism, three law enforcement officials said.
Also Tuesday, investigators disclosed that when Rahami was shot and captured, he had a notebook with him that contained extremist ramblings.
One bloodstained section contained references to both Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike and whose preaching has inspired other acts of violence, and Nidal Hasan, the former Army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.
Rahami’s father, Mohammad Rahami, spoke with the FBI after the younger Rahami was charged in 2014 with stabbing his brother. Rahami was not prosecuted in the stabbing; a grand jury declined to indict him.
Rahami’s father told reporters Tuesday outside the family’s fried-chicken restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, that he called the FBI at the time because Rahami “was doing real bad,” having stabbed the brother and hit his mother.
“But they checked, almost two months, and they say, ‘He’s OK, he’s clear, he’s not terrorist.’ Now they say he’s a terrorist,” the father said. Asked whether he thought his son was a terrorist, he said: “No. And the FBI, they know that.”