New York and New Jerseyfaces federal charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. The charges follow revelations the suspect’s father called him a terrorist two years ago.
The court papers offer a detailed account of what investigators believe Ahmad Rahami was doing in the days and hours leading up to the bombings, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues. Among the evidence now in the hands of investigators is video recovered from a cellphone which prosecutors say shows Rahami setting off what appears to be a pipe bomb in his backyard. Department of Justice lawyers will try to prove that it shows the 28-year-old was doing a dry run before putting his plan in motion.
The bomb that ripped through Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood Saturday
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They also believe the cellphones used on the bombs in Manhattan and Seaside Park, New Jersey, can be traced to Rahami or his family.
The explosion in Chelsea was so powerful, it threw a 100-pound dumpster more than 120 feet and shattered windows 400 feet away. Thirty-one people were injured, including a driver knocked unconscious by the blast and a woman who had wood shards embedded in her neck.
On the night of the bombing, investigators said a car left Rahami’s home in Elizabeth, New Jersey, drove through the Lincoln Tunnel and arrived in Manhattan around 6:30 p.m. Surveillance video apparently shows Rahami walking down 23rd Street about 37 minutes before a blast ripped through the block. A short time later, he allegedly turned up on 27th Street where an unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found.
Rahami was taken into custody Monday after a shootout with two police officers in New Jersey. The two officers, Peter Hammer and Angel Padilla, are expected to make full recovery.
“I think it’s a good sign that we found him in a doorway, that he was found in a doorway. Hopefully that means he had nowhere to go, so that’s a pretty good sign,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Prosecutors also believe they found Rahami’s YouTube account and allege that two of the videos he highlighted related to jihad.
When he was arrested, Rahami was carrying a journal with handwritten praise for Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. The journal also contained references to martyrdom, pipe bombs and pressure cooker bombs.
Rahami allegedly wrote: “[God willing,] the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gunshots to your police. Death to your oppression.”