Chelsea, New York, Bombing Suspect Charged With Using Weapon Of Mass Destruction — REPORT
United States prosecutors have ruled to bring four federal charges against Ahmad Khan Rahami following the weekend bombing of Chelsea in Manhattan, including the use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property, and using a device with the intent of violence, according to a Reuters report. These new charges will be added to the suspect's previously existing charges, which include the attempted murder of a police officer, and several other counts related to the gun battle that ensued when the suspect was taken into custody on the morning of Sept. 19. His bail is reportedly set at a staggering $5.2 million.
In addition to the charges ruling, the federal court complaint says that 28-year-old Rahami began his terroristic journey on Sept. 17, when he allegedly planted a pipe bomb and triggering cell phone in Seaside Park, New Jersey. That bomb, placed alongside a route of a 5-kilometer run, exploded around 9:35 a.m. The suspect then moved to the west side of Manhattan, planting and detonating a bomb along 23rd Street around 8:30 p.m. While the first explosive did not cause any bodily harm, the bomb in Chelsea injured 29 individuals and caused millions of dollars in property damage.
Several other explosives were found in both New York and New Jersey in the following hours, with five additional pipe bombs located by police Sunday evening near an Elizabeth, New Jersey train station.
As further information emerges surrounding the bombings, prosecutors are combing through the details of the suspected bomber's life. According to a report from The New York Times, Rahami's father approached the police in 2014, telling officials that he believed his son was involved in terrorism. A review was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Rahami was not interviewed during the probe), but did not lead to the discovery of any terroristic ties and was closed after several weeks. In a statement, the agency remarked that: "The FBI conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks, and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism."
Officials are likewise still searching for a motive for the attacks. Questions circulate regarding the alleged suspect's possible allegiance to jihadist principles, as officials located a notebook belonging to Rahami that contained messages of support for al Qaeda leaders. The notebook, officials say, had been pierced by a bullet and was smeared in blood. Investigators are also looking into the possibility of a co-conspirator in the attacks.