Suspect wrote ’bombs will be heard in the streets,’ authorities say
By Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Amanda Wills, Emanuella Grinberg and Holly Yan, CNN
New York (CNN)
The suspect in Saturday’s bombings in New York and New Jersey declared that "the sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets" and praised "Brother Osama Bin Laden" in a journal found on him when he was arrested, authorities said.
Ahmad Rahami was charged Tuesday with four counts in federal court in connection with an explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and an unexploded pressure cooker found nearby.
A complaint filed in US District Court in Manhattan contains details from Rahami’s handwritten journal, damaged from a shootout with police, and more evidence from the investigation.
The complaint charges Rahami with use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property and use of a destructive device.
The charges are the latest news in a fast-moving investigation. The 28-year-old naturalized US citizen also faces charges in state court in New Jersey stemming from a shootout with police in Linden.
New details emerge
The complaint sheds new light on Rahami’s alleged motives and means, and the time line of the incidents.
Two cell phones used in the bombs were shipped to the same Perth Amboy, New Jersey, store located about 500 meters from a residence listed on Rahami’s 2012 passport application as home.
The "user address" for the phone attached to the unexploded pressure cooker bomb found in Chelsea belonged to Rahami’s residence, the complaint alleges.
A social media account associated with the phone contained videos of violent extremist content.
From June 20 to August 10, registered eBay user "ahmad rahimi" purchased items associated with bomb making. They were shipped to a Perth Amboy, NJ, business where Rahami is believed to have worked until September 12.
The Chelsea explosion came from a "high explosive charge" placed inside a pressure cooker and left in a dumpster. The blast propelled the dumpster 100 feet and shattered windows 400 feet above the detonation. The bomb was packed with ball bearings and steel nuts, likely to increase the lethality of the device, that traveled as far as 650 feet from the site, the complaint alleges.
An unexploded pressure cooker was packed with similar components, including a cell phone that would act as a timer. Twelve fingerprints recovered from the the pressure cooker, duct tape, and triggering cell phone were matched to Rahami.
In addition to bin Laden, the journal contained references Anwar al-Awlaki and Fort Hood, Texas, mass shooter Nidal Hasan. There are mentions of pipe bombs, a pressure cooker bomb and a partial sentence, "in the streets they plan to run a mile."
It closes with "Inshallah," God willing, "the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death To Your OPPRESSION."
Why the FBI interviewedRahami’s father in 2014
Earlier Tuesday, Rahami’s father told reporters that he called the FBI two years ago when his son was acting violently.
The FBI interviewed Rahami’s father in 2014 after a violent domestic dispute. That interview stemmed from a tip alleging that Rahami’s father was calling his son a terrorist, according to two US officials.
However, there are contradictory accounts of how Rahami came to the attention of law enforcement. His father told reporters that he contacted the FBI and expressed his concern after the dispute.
But when the FBI talked with the father, he recanted his claim that his son was a terrorist but did express concern that Ahmad was engaged in criminal or gang activity, a federal law enforcement source said.
Ultimately, federal investigators believed it was a domestic dispute, several federal officials told CNN. At the time of that interview, Rahami was in jail following a family dispute in which he stabbed one of his relatives.
The FBI never interviewed Ahmad Rahami, according to officials. He was never placed in an FBI database of potential terrorists, officials said.
His wife’s whereabouts
While he was in Pakistan in 2011, Rahami married a Pakistani woman. That same year, he filed paperwork to bring her back to the US, and it was approved in 2012. However it’s unclear if she came to the US at that time.
In 2014, Rahami contacted Congressman Albio Sires’ office from Islamabad, saying he was concerned about his wife’s passport and visa. It turned out her Pakistani passport had expired. Once it was renewed, she discovered she was pregnant. She was told she would need a visa for the baby as well. It is unclear what happened to the child.
However, Rahami’s wife eventually made it to the US — and she left before Saturday’s attacks, according to a law enforcement official.
She is cooperating with investigators, according to the source. She has spoken with US officials in the UAE.
How he was found
Surveillance video from Saturday evening shows a man believed to be Rahami dragging what appeared to be a duffel bag with wheels near the site of the West 23rd Street explosion about 40 minutes before the blast.
New video appears to show bombings suspect 00:24
Rahami was identified Sunday afternoon through a fingerprint. Evidence from the cell phone on the pressure cooker also led to Rahami’s identification. Authorities revealed his identity on Monday morning.
He was captured four hours later in Linden, NJ, about 20 miles from New York City. Police found him after a bar owner spotted him sleeping in the doorway of his bar.
When officers responded, Rahami pulled out a handgun and opened fire, striking an officer in his protective vest over his chest. A foot chase ensued, during which Rahami shot at a police car, causing a bullet to graze another officer in the face.
The chase ended when Rahami was shot multiple times. He was taken to a hospital for surgery.
Rahami was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on Monday.
His bail has been set at $5.2 million.
CNN’s Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Sarah Jorgensen, Deborah Feyerick and Jessica Schneider reported, and Amanda Wills wrote this story from New York. CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg and Holly Yan contributed from Atlanta. Rachel Crane and Linh Tran reported from Elizabeth, New Jersey. Pamela Brown, Drew Griffin, Madison Park, Joe Sutton, Emily Smith and Max Blau also contributed.
About 10 minutes later, surveillance video showed the same man with the same duffel bag on West 27th Street, near the site of the second bomb.