NJ Bombing Suspect’s Father Warned FBI 2 Years Ago About Son’s Possible Terror Ties
ELIZABETH — The father of the New York and New Jersey bombing suspect said Tuesday he called the FBI twice about his son, who he worried was mixed up with the wrong crowd.
The father of Ahmad Khan Rahami made the comments the day after his 28-year-old son was arrested after a shootout with police in Linden.
The arrest followed a weekend manhunt following a Saturday morning explosion that targeted a military charity race in Seaside Park, and a Manhattan bombing that injured 29 people in Chelsea.
Law enforcement officials told ABC News and The Associated Press on Tuesday that Mohammad Rahami contacted the FBI in 2014 after his son was charged with stabbing a relative. He reportedly told investigators that he was concerned that his son was a terrorist.
Rahami's father also told the FBI that his son was interacting with "bad people" overseas, ABC News reported.
“Two years ago I go to the F.B.I. because my son was doing really bad, O.K.?” he said Tuesday in a brief interview with reporters outside the restaurant. “But they check almost two months, they say, ‘He’s O.K., he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist.’ I say O.K. Now they say he is a terrorist. I say O.K.”
The official told The Associated Press that the FBI looked into the matter but the father later retracted his comment and said he meant that his son was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Rahami is a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan.
A childhood friend, Flee Jones, told WPG sister station New Jersey 101.5 that Rahami had become more religious after a trip to Afghanistan several years ago.
Rahami was charged in 2014 with aggravated assault and with possession of a knife. But a Union County grand jury declined to indict him on the charges. It was not clear why they did not hand up an indictment. Grand jury proceedings are secret.
NJ Advance Media reported Monday that Superior Court records named Nasim Rahami as the relative Rahami allegedly stabbed.
Rahami also was arrested in 2012 in Elizabeth with violating a domestic violence restraining order.
Investigators say Rahami left a trail of clues from Seaside Heights to Manhattan that led them to his apartment above his family's fried chicken restaurant — which the family had claimed in a 2011 federal lawsuit had been targeted by the city and neighbors as a result of anti-Muslim bias.
Two men on the street Sunday night discovered another bomb left in a backpack in the city's Midtown train station, not far from the apartment. The bomb was accidentally detonated by a robot on Monday morning but nobody was hurt.
Among the evidence:
— Rahami's fingerprints and DNA were found at the scene of the Manhattan bombing.
— His face was captured by surveillance cameras in Chelsea.
— Electronic toll records tie a car he used driving from New Jersey to Manhattan and back.
After his face was plastered on an FBI wanted poster, a Linden bar owner found Rahami sleeping in his doorway. Responding police recognized Rahani, who pulled out a gun and shot an officer in the chest. A bulletproof vest saved the officer.
Rahami then engaged in a shootout with police on the city's street. The Union County Prosecutor's Office charged Rahami with five counts of attempted murder on police officers.
The bombs discovered Saturday all used flip cellphones as a trigger and were all made with easily purchasable materials, federal law enforcement sources told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Authorities on Sunday pulled over the car linked to Rahami as it was headed toward JFK airport.
At least one of Rahami's relatives was among five people int he car. None have been charged with any crime.