The man suspected in three bombings in New York and New Jersey is an immigrant from Afghanistan who came to the United States with his family and helped run his father’s fried chicken business.
The Elizabeth, New Jersey, home of Ahmad Khan Rahami’s family, located above their restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, was raided by the FBI, ATF, state and local police on Monday. The restaurant and home are owned by Mohammad Rahami, Ahmad’s father, along with his mother, Najiba.
Along with his mother and father, Ahmad Rahami has several siblings, including three brothers and possibly two sisters, the New York Times reports. Two of his brothers share their fathers name, Mohammad, one of whom goes by his middle name, Qasim, according to court documents.
Ahmad Rahami was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, about four miles from his home, Monday morning. He was wounded, but survived. It is not clear if police are searching for other suspects in the bombings.
The family is not commenting about the incident.
Rahami’s sister, Zobyedh, a student at Rutgers, posted on Facebook, “I would like people to respect my family’s privacy and let us have our peace after this tragic time. I would not like to answer any questions.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rahami’s Family Members Were Detained After a Traffic Stop in New York, NBC News Reports
According to NBC News, five members of Ahmad Rahami’s family were stopped near the Verrazano Bridge in New York City late Sunday night and detained for questioning by the FBI.
The New York Post reported that investigators had stopped a car near the Verrazano-Narrows bridge linking Staten Island to Brooklyn. Senator Marty Golden said on Instagram that the traffic stop was related to the bombing. The Post added that five people were taken into custody in the stop and were questioned in an FBI building in Manhattan.
The New York Times reports that the suspects were mostly from the same family and “may” have been headed to JFK Airport. They were spotted at Rahami’s home, which was being watched by the FBI.
The Verrazano Bridge is about 30 minutes from the Rahami’s home in Elizabeth.
They are not facing charges at this time, authorities say.
2. The Fried Chicken Restaurant Caused Many Complaints From Neighbors Over Late Night Behavior by Customers
The fried chicken restaurant below the home where Rahami’s family lives in Elizabeth has been the target of complaints from neighbors for several years, the New York Times reports.
His father, Mohammad Rahami, owns the restaurant, called First American Fried Chicken. It opened several years ago, Mayor Christian Bollwage told the Times, and became a “persistent neighborhood nuisance,” according to the Times.
The restaurant stayed open all night, and drew large, loud crowds, Bollwage said. The city passed an ordinance forcing the restaurant to close at 10 p.m.
“The City Council voted to shut it down at 10,” Bollwage told the Times. “They kept getting complaints from neighbors; it was a distress to people in the neighborhood.”
Neighbors said the Rahamis did not comply, and in one case, one of Ahmad’s brothers got into a fight with an officer who came to close down the restaurant. He fled to Afghanistan before the case was resolved, according to the Times.
According to the Times, Ahmad Rahami eventually took over the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
“When it first opened it was the father 24 hours a day,” Ryan McCann, told the newspaper. “He’s a very friendly guy, he gave me free chicken. He was always the most friendly man you ever met.”
McCann said Ahmad Rahami wore Western clothes, and loves cars. McCann ate at the restaurant two weeks ago and said Rahami was talking about them.
“He always talked about fast Honda civics, about how he loved them,” McCann said. “He was having a conversation about his cars,” Mr. McCann said. “How he likes to soup ’em up and race ’em. He’s a guy you would never expect. This is sad, terrifying, scary.”
3. Rahami’s Father Sued the City of Elizabeth & His Neighbors, Saying They Were Discriminated Against for Being Muslim
Rahami’s father sued the city of Elizabeth, the city’s police department, several officers, and his neighbor in federal court in 2011, alleging they violated his civil rights by discriminating against him. Mohammad Rahami and two of Ahmad’s brothers filed the lawsuit in New Jersey federal court.
The Rahamis argued that they were targeted by the city, police and their neighbors because of their ethnicity and Muslim religion, according to the lawsuit. They said that starting in July 2008 they were “subjected to citations and summonses for allegedly violating a local ordinace regulating hours of operation for certain businesses, in particular rquiring certain establishments to close by 10 p.m.”
“Despite their legal right to keep the restaurant open past 10 p.m., defendants, each and every one of them, with reckless disregard and deliberate indifference to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights of liberty, due process, and equal protection embarked on a course of conduct to harass, humiliate, intimidate, retaliate against and force plaintiffs to close their business by 10 p.m. by filing complaints, tickets, summonses and charges relating to the subject ordinance, claiming that the business hours of the restaurant needed to be limtied. The tickets summons and complaints were all baseless, unfounded and designed solely to intimidate and harass plaintiffs.”
You can read the lawsuit below:
Mohammad Rahami and his sons alleged one neighbor who complained to the police often told them “you are Muslims” and “Muslims make too much trouble in this country,” among other comments singling them out based on their race, religion and national origin, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 2012, according to court records. It remained open pending an appeal of the dismissal, but no action in the case has occurred since 2015. The attorney who represented the family in the initial filing could not be reached for comment.
Elizabeth Mayor Cameron Bollwage told the New York Times there was no discrimination by the city.
“It was neighbor complaints, it had nothing to do with his ethnicity or religion,” the mayor told the Times. “It had to do with noise and people congregating on the streets.”
4. Police Removed Evidence, Including Hard Drives, From the Home of Rahami’s Family & Towed a Car From the Scene
Police removed evidence, including hard drives, from Rahami’s family home during the raid Monday morning, NBC New York reports.
Two cars, a white sedan and a black Toyota Camry, were towed from the scene, FiOS1 News reports.
It is not known if any members of Rahami’s family was at the home at the time of the raid.
5. Ahmad Rahami Was Arrested After a Shootout With Police in Linden
The suspect accused in bombings in New York and New Jersey has been taken into custody following a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, about four miles from his hometown of Elizabeth, NBC New York reports.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was arrested Monday about 11 a.m. after an exchange of gunfire with police, the news station reports.
NBC News reports that Rahami was being taken to a local hospital.
One officer was shot, taking a round to his vest, the New York Sergeants Benevolent Association said on Twitter. The officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries, NBC reports.