BY KATHY CHANG
EDISON — The explosions over the weekend in Seaside Park and the Chelsea section of New York City, led law enforcement to Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 2007 Edison High School graduate.
A yearbook photo of a smiling Rahami, 28, floated around social media, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New Jersey State Police and New York State Police released multiple wanted images of Rahami during the early morning hours of Sept. 19.
The law enforcement agencies were asking for the public’s assistance in locating Rahami, of Elizabeth, who was wanted in questioning in connection with the explosion in New York around 8:30 p.m. in the vicinity of 135 West 23rd Street in New York that injured 29 people on Sept. 17 as well as a possible connection to the explosion in Seaside Park earlier that morning.
A pipe bomb style device went off in a garbage can at approximately 9:35 a.m. in Seaside Park along the route of a 5K Semper Five run and walk to benefit military soldiers. There were no reported injuries or damage to surrounding structures, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Local police departments were on alert after the explosion in Seaside Park. The Woodbridge Police Department receives updated Homeland Security information in daily briefings from the New Jersey State Police Department of Homeland Security, according to John Hagerty, communications director for the township.
The Woodbridge Police Department’s patrol officers had stepped up patrol activities at pre-designated locations including train stations, public events and locations where there would be large concentrations of the public, said Hagerty.
Rahami was described as a United States citizen of Afghan descent, born in Afghanistan, in the information released by the FBI.
He was apprehended after a shootout with Linden police that left two officers injured during the morning hours of Sept. 19.
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office released that Union County and Linden police apprehended Rahami and the FBI confirmed the capture of Rahami in Linden around 10:43 a.m.
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Monmouth, Middlesex) said while there is still much to learn, what is clear is that law enforcement has done an outstanding job since the first incident in Seaside Park on Sept. 17 with a capture of the suspect.
“We will pray for the speedy recovery of the officers injured in the apprehension of the suspect,” he said. “We must remain vigilant, follow the critical request of law enforcement that if you ‘see something, say something’. Residents of New Jersey must continue to stand and work together to confront these challenges and keep our communities safe.”
Congressman Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Union) said he praised the work of law enforcement who rushed to the scenes, the first responders who assisted those injured and the brave Linden police officers who engaged and apprehended the suspect at great risk to themselves.
“These terror attacks hit especially close to home and remind us that we must be ever vigilant and give law enforcement all the tools and support they need to protect our homeland,” he said.
Jim Sues, director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey, thanked the law enforcement agencies involved in the swift and professional apprehension of the suspect.