‘I’m homeless’ — Video of moments before NJ police shootout with terror suspect
New Jersey 101.5 video
LINDEN — Police body-cam video has been released showing part of the encounter between police officers and suspected terror bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who tried to pass himself off as homeless before officials said he tried killing the cops.
The footage shows officers Angel Padilla and Pete Hammer pulling up to a bar where a man was reported sleeping in its covered doorway.
The officers did not initially know they were talking to the man who state police and the FBI were hunting after bombs were detonated in Seaside Park and Chelsea, injuring more than 30 people in the Manhattan neighborhood.
Police also had detonated a third bomb at the Elizabeth train station hours earlier. That bomb was discovered and reported by two men who actually were homeless.
Rahimi was not homeless but lived with family above their First American Fried Chicken restaurant in the Elmora section of Elizabeth.
The encounter ended in a shootout between officers and Rahimi. But video of that part of the encounter was not released by the Union County Prosecutor's Office, which considers that footage a criminal investigatory record not subject to disclosure under the Open Public Records Act.
"He's taking a nap," one of the officers said to the other before yelling out the window "Dude! What are you doing?" The's man's response can't be heard but the officer tells him, "You can't be sleeping on someone's door."
The response is inaudible but prompts the officers to get out of the car and walk towards Rahimi. The officer asks Rahami his name and he replies "Ahmad" but gives a false last name and said he doesn't have any ID on him. Rahami says he is homeless and that he used to live in Perth Amboy.
"I haven't had a house in two weeks," adding that he lost his job and couldn't pay the rent. The video ends before any shots were fired.
Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki said in September that the officers recognized the man as Rahimi, who pulled out a gun and fired at Padilla and Hammer. The officers were hospitalized and later released.
Rahimi has been charged by prosecutors in Union County with five counts of attempted murder of police officers. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. He also is facing federal terrorism charges. He is jailed at a state prison in Trenton.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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