Indian-American bar owner helps capture US bombing suspect Rahami
Harinder Bains, the owner of Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, New Jersey, told CNN he saw Rahami sleeping outside his bar and called the authorities, after recognizing him as the wanted man for this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey.world Updated: Sep 20, 2016 11:43 IST
An Indian-American bar owner in Linden, New Jersey, tipped off police after he spotted bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami sleeping in the doorway of his store early Monday morning that finally led to his arrest.
Harinder Bains, the owner of Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, New Jersey, told CNN he saw Rahami sleeping outside his bar and called the authorities, after recognizing him as the wanted man for this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey. The FBI had earlier posted the suspect’s pictures for public alert.
But Harinder Bains doesn’t see himself as a hero. “I am just a regular citizen doing what every citizen should do,” Bains told CNN.
“I just told them the guy looks a little suspicious and doesn’t look good to me,” he said.
Rahami was captured after a shootout that left him and two law enforcement officers injured in Linden, a New Jersey city not very far from Elizabeth, another city in the state where he lived with his family.
The suspect, an Afghan-descent naturalized American citizen, had worked at his family owned restaurant — First American Fried Chicken — in Elizabeth and was known to be a friendly man who sometimes gave away free food to regular customers.
He had a liking for western clothes and fast cars — souped up Honda Civics. But he changed dramatically after his return from a brief stay in Afghanistan four years ago. He became religious and took to wearing traditional clothes.
Rahami had spent a few weeks in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, in 2011. During that time he also visited Quetta in Pakistan and married a Pakistani woman.
He returned to Pakistan in 2013 and stayed there a year, according to law enforcement officials cited by CNN. He tried to bring his wife to the US, but officials were not certain if he succeeded.
CNN said Rahami had called the office of New Jersey Congressman Albio Sires, a Democrat turned Republican, from Islamabad in 2014 saying he was concerned about his wife’s passport and visa.
“It turned out her Pakistani passport had expired and the consulate wouldn’t give her an immigrant visa until the passport was renewed,” CNN said citing Sires.
When her passport came through, she was found to be pregnant and was told she couldn’t get a visa till the baby was born. The couple was also told they had to get an immigrant visa for the baby.