Court papers: Suspect vowed ‘bombs will be heard’ in streets
NEW YORK — Ahmad Khan Rahami vowed to martyr himself rather than be caught after setting off explosives in New York and New Jersey, and he’d hoped in a handwritten journal championing jihad that “the sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” authorities said Tuesday as they filed federal charges against him.
A criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court provided chilling descriptions of the motivations that authorities said drove the Afghan-born U.S. citizen to set off explosives in New York and New Jersey, including a bomb that injured more than two dozen people when it blew up on a busy Manhattan street.
Meanwhile, more details emerged Tuesday about Rahami’s past, including the disclosure that the FBI had looked into him in 2014 but came up with nothing.
According to the court complaint, Rahami expressed concern at the prospect of being caught before being able to carry out a suicide attack and the desire to be a martyr, the complaint said. Another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb.”
Rahmani remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether Rahami had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
The court complaint describes Rahami buying bomb-making equipment so openly that he ordered citric acid, ball bearings and electronic igniters on eBay and had them delivered to a New Jersey business where he worked until earlier this month.
In 2014, the FBI opened up an “assessment,” the least intrusive form of an FBI inquiry, based on comments from his father after a domestic dispute, the bureau said in a statement.
“The FBI conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism,” the bureau said.
A law enforcement official said the FBI spoke with Rahami’s father in 2014 after agents learned of his concerns that the son could be a terrorist. During the inquiry, the father backed away from talk of terrorism and told investigators that he simply meant his son was hanging out with the wrong crowd, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.