NEW YORK — The man who authorities believe carried out the Chelsea bombing that injured 29 people as well as planting bombs elsewhere in Manhattan and New Jersey, has been arrested after a shootout with police, officials said.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was taken into custody Monday morning, two days after he planted two pressure cooker bombs in Chelsea and several other explosive devices in the Garden State, according to Linden Mayor Derek Armstead.
Rahami was discovered sleeping in the doorway of Merdie's, a Linden bar, by its owner who thought he was a vagrant and called police, Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki said.
When the officer went to rouse the sleeping man, he immediately recognized him from the FBI wanted poster that was distributed Monday morning, according to the captain.
The officer nudged Rahami, who woke up and pulled a gun on the officer, firing a round into his bulletproof vest, Sarnicki said.
The officer returned fire, hitting Rahami who then took off running, sources said.
Rahami continued to trade shots with police, firing one round into a responding patrol car and grazing the officer inside the vehicle in the forehead, the Linden captain said.
Additional police descended on the area and Rahami opened fire, sources and witnesses said. Officers shot him and took him into custody.
"At first you don't realize they were shooting at each other. I work on a busy street, you hear noise all the time," said Shawn Stiles, 30, the assistant manager of nearby Linden Auto Body Shop.
"You see the different cops go by and then you hear a bunch of gunshots," he said.
Stiles heard about 20 gunshots, Stiles said.
"I first thought it was a power outage, but it just kept constantly going," said a woman who works with Stiles but didn't give her name.
"It's a little nerve-wracking. I'm a little scared. Now that they got him, I'm a little more settled," she added.
Both officers who were struck were not seriously injured. Another officer was treated for dizziness and a fourth will be evaluated because he discharged his weapon, Sarnicki said.
"There are a lot of people walking through that area, driving through that area and for this person to be indiscriminately firing his weapon, his handgun, is very upsetting," the captain said. "We're lucky. We had two officers shot, fortunately both are going to be OK."
Rahami is believed to have planted a bomb in a garbage can in Seaside Park, New Jersey, which detonated without injuring anyone. He also left explosives in a backpack atop a trash can at the NJ Transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, officials said.
It still wasn't immediately clear why he planted the explosives, but sources said he had posted radical Islamic writings on his personal website.
"We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror," said Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday morning.
Rahami is believed to have acted alone and investigators aren't hunting any further suspects, officials said.