On the night of September 17th around 8:30 pm bomb went off in Chelsea, New York injuring at least 29 people. Gasoline was quickly ruled out as the possible cause and many began thinking the explosions may have been intentional. Officials said believe an explosion which happened early Saturday in New Jersey is most likely connected with the bombings.
On Monday, Ahmad Khan Rahami was chased down by police after becoming the main suspect. He was caught on surveillance carrying a duffel bag near the site of the explosion. A second device was also found not far from the explosions. The device was a pressure cooker with some wires sticking out of the top and he was eventually identified by fingerprints left on the device. Another bag was found containing multiple bombs on Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which authorities also believe trace back to Rahami.
After officials identified Rahami, they issued an alert to millions in the area (which described him as “armed and dangerous”). He was found asleep outside a bar doorway and after a frantic manhunt that resulted in him being shot in the leg and arm, he was captured and taken in. Two other officers were also injured during the fight and his bail was placed at $5.2 million after being charged with assaulting an officer.
Following the explosions, people on social media started calling the bombings an act of terrorism. While officials avoided using that word at first, the events that unfolded on Monday confirmed this to be true.
Rahami was a naturalized citizen born in Afghanistan, yet his ideology and politics are still not known to the public. “It’s horrible because they caught one of the guys who did it, but we still don’t know what group he was affiliated with,” says Larissa Rodriguez (‘17).
According to the New York Times, Rahami traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan recently. Friends and family noted a difference in Rahami’s manner and personality after traveling back and forth. It was first thought that maybe he had some influence with terrorist groups during his stay, but no connection to any terrorist group has been made.