Explosives detonated in Chelsea, Jersey shore


Sarah Hartzell

Updated 12:06 pm Sept. 19

Ahmad Khan Rahami has been taken into custody in connection with Saturday’s explosions in Chelsea and New Jersey after a shootout with authorities in Linden, NJ.

Rahimi is under questioning for the incidents in Manhattan and Seaside Park, as well as the devices found in Elizabeth on Sunday night. Five additional undetonated bombs were found in a garbage can near a train station at about 9:30 pm on Sunday. The devices and their location are similar to those in Seaside Park, NJ, and Manhattan.

Rahami is believed to be the man seem on surveillance footage taken near the site of the blast on 23rd Street. The video shows a man rolling a duffel bag near the 23rd Street location about 40 minutes before the explosion and the same man with the same bag near the site of the unexploded pressure cooker found on 27th Street about ten minutes later. The man then leaves the bag and two other men remove a white garbage bag from the duffel, which is believed to have contained the pressure cooker.

Rahimi is a naturalized US citizen whose last known residence was in Elizabeth, NJ.


[Previous story, published 3:50 pm Sept. 18]

An explosive device was detonated in Chelsea on Saturday night, injuring at least 29 people and damaging surrounding buildings. One of the injuries is considered serious, but none are life-threatening.

The blast emanated from inside a dumpster on 23rd Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenue, at roughly 8:30 pm. Businesses in the area have been evacuated, as NYPD, FBI, and ATF arson officials investigate.

In an address to the press coverage, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blast was “intentional,” but cannot label it as an act of terror while still being investigated.  No person or group has claimed responsibility. The NYPD says a suspicious package was also found on 27th Street, and has advised residents to stay away from windows facing the street.

The explosion was the second such event of that day, as a similar device was detonated in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday morning.  The shore town was hosting a Marine Corps charity run, which was the likely target of the explosion, according to local authorities. Three pipe bombs were found in a garbage can on the boardwalk along the race route, only one of which successfully detonated.

Due to registration issues that morning, the start of the race was delayed, preventing runners from being near the device at the time of the explosion. “If it was just a matter of minutes, in terms of difference, there would have been a good number of people running past that explosive device,” said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor’s office.  No one was injured and police did not find any other devices after a sweep of the area. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force will lead the investigation of the explosion, with bomb experts will examining the device in an attempt to trace its origin.  Mayor de Blasio stated that there does not appear to be a connection between the two explosions.