Ahmad Khan Rahami, a US citizen born in Afghanistan, was charged by federal officials in two states on Tuesday with planting bombs in New York, and at a military charity run and train station in New Jersey.
He remains hospitalised after a shootout with police on Monday, hours after investigators say he dumped a package with bombs in a trash can near a train station. Investigators are looking into his previous overseas travel and other run-ins with the law.
Here’s what’s known about Rahami:
Rahami was accused of stabbing one of his brothers in 2014, but a grand jury declined to indict him, despite a warning from the arresting officer that Rahami likely was “a danger to himself or others,” court records show. He also was accused of violating a domestic-violence restraining order in 2012.
Rahami has a child with a woman he dated while attending high school in Edison, New Jersey, but the two have since had a tumultuous relationship. Rahami often was hundreds of dollars in arrears in child support and their custody case was called before a family court judge six times in five years, records show. She went to court on Tuesday to seek full custody of the child, citing the terror investigation.
In 2011, the woman went to court to stop Rahami’s overnight visits with the child, but a judge found she hadn’t provided evidence to show that their child was in danger of being removed from the country. A judge approved a visitation agreement between the two in May 2014, ordering that the child spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with her — and the Muslim holy days Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha with Rahami.
Investigated by FBI
After the 2014 stabbing incident, the FBI looked into Rahami after his father expressed concern his son might be a terrorist, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. 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 and acting like a thug, the officials said.
Rahami’s father told reporters Tuesday that he called the FBI at the time because Rahami “was doing real bad”.
William Sweeney, the FBI’s assistant director in New York, said on Monday that at the time of the bombing, Rahami apparently was not on the FBI’s radar.
Where he worked
Federal investigators said that Rahami purchased components for the bombs on eBay, and had them shipped to a business where he worked in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. They said he worked there until September 12, but didn’t identify the store.
Rahami had worked as an unarmed night guard for two months in 2011 at an Associated Press administrative technology office in New Jersey. At the time, he was employed by Summit Security, a private contractor.
AP global security chief Danny Spriggs said Rahami worked night shifts and often engaged colleagues in long political discussions, expressing sympathy for the Taliban and disdain for US military action in Afghanistan. Rahami left that job in 2011 because he wanted to take a trip to Afghanistan, Spriggs said.
Customers at a fried chicken restaurant owned by Rahami’s father where he had worked said his demeanour changed after taking trips overseas and he started wearing more ethnic clothing.
A wife from Pakistan
On a trip to Pakistan in 2014, Rahami emailed his local congressman seeking help because his pregnant wife had an expired passport.
Democratic New Jersey Republican Albio Sires said his office wrote a letter to the US embassy in Pakistan to check on the status of the case and the woman received a visa.