Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old Afghan-American man, was taken into custody in connection with bombings in New York City and New Jersey over the weekend.
Police arrested him after an exchange of gunfire in Linden, New Jersey, that left the suspect wounded.
Details about Rahami have begun to emerge. Here’s everything we know about him so far:
• He’s an American citizen. Rahami was born in Afghanistan in 1988, and according to The Daily Beast, he came to the United States as a child in 1995 as the son of an asylum seeker. The FBI described him as a naturalized US citizen whose last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
• He was known as a class clownin high school, according to Maria, Rahami’s high school sweetheart and the mother of his daughter. Maria told Fox News on Monday that Rahami often criticized American culture and American military, but she “never thought he would do something like this.”
• But he became a “completely different person” after a trip to Afghanistan. Four years ago, he visited his native Afghanistan, and changed drastically upon returning to the US. According to the New York Times. After his trip, Rahami started growing a beard, wearing traditional Muslim clothing, and praying at work. He also became noticeably more serious. “It’s like he was a completely different person,” Flee Jones, who grew up with Rahami, told the Times. “He got serious and completely closed off.”
• His father called him a terrorist in 2014. Rahami’s father Mohammad told New Jersey police his son was a terrorist when his son was arrested in a domestic dispute, according to The New York Times. The comments prompted an FBI interview, but the father recanted his statement.
- Getty Images/Drew Angerer
• He made multiple trips to Pakistan. One yearlong visit resulted in his marriage to a Pakistani woman, CNN reported.
• There’s no evidence he’s connected to ISIS, Al Qaeda, or other foreign terror organizations. However, authorities are exploring a possible link to international terrorist groups. After initially insisting the New York bombings weren’t linked to international terrorism, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday the attack appeared to be a “specific act of terror.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he “would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act.”
• But he apparently praised a former senior Al Qaeda leader in a notebook police found Monday after the shootout. In one part of the book, according to the Times, Rahami wrote of “killing the kuffar,” or non-believers, a law-enforcement official said. And he praised Anwar al-Awlaki – the American-born, former senior Al Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011 – and the soldier involved in the Fort Hood shooting.
• Rahami’s family had issues with their local government. Rahami’s father’s restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, in Elizabeth, was open 24 hours a day and drew complaints from neighbors about rowdy crowds and loitering, according to The New York Times. Rahami and his brothers worked at the restaurant. The Rahamis did not comply with a City Council ordinance to close the restaurant at 10 p.m., and one of Rahami’s brothers was arrested after fighting a police officer who came to close the restaurant, but fled to Afghanistan before the case could be resolved.
According to The Times, the Rahami family sued the city, the police department, and about 15 police officers, claiming they had been discriminated against because of their race and ethnicity.
• He’s gotten in trouble with the law before. Rahami spent more than three months in jail on charges stemming from his 2014 domestic dispute, in which he was accused of stabbing his brother, according to The New York Times. Additionally, a New Jersey apartment complex filed a landlord-tenant civil action suit against Rahami in 2013, USA Today reported, although the outcome of the case is unknown. Rahami also lost $1,158 in a small claims judgment in 2012, according to USA Today.
• The devices found in New York City were made with pressure cookers, flip phones, and Christmas lights. The explosives were filled with “small bearings or metal BBs” to inflict as much damage as possible, according to The New York Times.
• Police found Rahami sleeping in a bar. A bar owner in Linden, New Jersey, called authorities about a man sleeping in the hallway of his bar. An officer recognized the man as Rahami, and a gunfight erupted between the two. The officer was hit in his bulletproof vest over his abdomen. Rahami fled the bar and was eventually shot multiple times by other officers. One other officer was injured in the gunfight.
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• When Rahami was arrested, he was holding a notebook with writings sympathetic to jihadist causes. In one section of the book, Rahami wrote about killing non-believers, according to The New York Times. The book was pierced by a bullethole and covered in blood following Rahami’s shootout with police.