Suspected Afghan-Born Bomber Indicted on Federal Charges

By - November 28, 2016
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Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a man living in New Jersey, was indicted last week on eight federal criminal charges that were related to bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey in early 2016. Federal prosecutors said that the man is 28 years old and is an Afghan-born US citizen. He reportedly was inspired by international terrorists including al-Qaida.

According to federal prosecutors, he blew up a bomb in Chelsea, a neighborhood in Manhattan, that injured 30 people. He also has been charged with planting another bomb in Manhattan that did not detonate. He also allegedly planted a pipe bomb that did not blow up along the route of a Marine Corps charity race at the Jersey Shore. No one was injured there.

Rahimi was arrested in Linden, New Jersey after a shootout with police. He was put in a hospital in New Jersey to recover from gunshot wounds until last week. He then made his first appearance in a New York federal court.

If he is convicted on all federal charges, he faces life in prison. It is believed that Rahimi will plead not guilty.

The charges against the man include using a weapon of mass destruction, transporting and receiving explosives, and bombing a place used by the public.

The AP stated that Rahimi also is facing 25 counts in NJ state court connected to the shootout in New Jersey. Those include attempted murder of a peace officer. Those charges could lead to another life sentence if he is convicted.

His arraignment on those counts was held on video conference between the state courthouse and his hospital bed in Newark.

Federal prosecutors allege that Rahimi transported two explosive devices from NJ to NY on the day of the bombing in Manhattan. He was accused of putting one in a dumpster near 135 West 23rd St. and putting another in a dumpster near 131 West 27th St. The bomb on 23rd St. went off, and sent the dumpster 120 feet in the air. The other bomb did not detonate and was later found by law enforcement.

He wounded dozens of people and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Injuries to passers by included lacerations to the legs, abdomen, face and arms; metal shrapnel and fragments embedded in skin and bone, and several head injuries. The explosive devices were put inside a pressure cooker and put in a dumpster.

The blast shattered windows 400 feet away and more than three stories high.

After the bombing in September, law enforcement stated that the police had video footage of the explosion from various apartment buildings in the area. There also was ample physical evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, but law enforcement did not say which provided the evidence needed for the arrest.

After the explosion, the police went on a manhunt for Rahami, after they took five people into custody in connection with the bombing.

Law enforcement believe that Rahami built all of the bombs himself. His work made them think that he may have been trained by someone with experience in building pressure cooker bombs.

The police stated that the bombs were well constructed and if he acted alone, he was a very skilled bombmaker. They did not think that he could have gotten that good at making such bombs by reading on the Internet.

Rahami and his family went to Pakistan on several occasions and he stayed there once for almost a year. According to law enforcement, there was no evidence that he had gotten military training overseas.

The FBI has been looking at his explosive devices to determine if he was directed by ISIS or if he was just inspired by them or another terrorist group.

After the first explosion, city streets in the area were locked down as a tip came into police about another device. All of the devices used old style flip phones as timers and Christmas tree lights as initiators. They also noted that HMTD, which is an explosive compound, was used as the detonator. It is a compound that is very similar to Tannerite, which is a commercial explosive.

Ironically, one explosive device was left in a piece of luggage, and two homeless men opened the bag and pulled out the bomb, and left it with the luggage. It appears that the accidentally disabled the bomb.

About Murder Charges

Among the many federal charges that this suspect has been charged with, attempted murder on a police officer may be considered secondary to the terrorism related charges, but the charge is just as serious.

Attempting to murder a peace officer is an extremely serious charge that can result at the very least in life in prison.

It will be interested to see how the suspect is charged in the police officer case. The attempted murder of the police officer was not done with premeditation, from what it appears. So, it would not be a first degree murder charge. Most likely, the action on the police officer would be second degree murder. Usually, second degree murder is a middle ground between first degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

However, most states have a specific statute for attempting to murder a peace officer, and if convicted, the usual punishment is life in prison.