Bombing suspect still too injured to question, official says
LINDEN — Investigators haven't been able to question a man charged with setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey because he's too severely injured from his shootout with police, a law enforcement official said Thursday as the man's father said he'd warned federal authorities about the man's interest in jihadist material.
Ahmad Khan Rahami remained hospitalized after his gunbattle with police officers Monday, and it was unclear when he might be taken to court to face federal terrorism charges in the blasts, which injured 31 people Saturday. A public defender has sought a court appearance for Rahami so he can hear the charges against him.
Rahami, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen, has been unconscious and intubated for much of the time since undergoing surgery, said Robert Reilly, a spokesman for the FBI's Newark office.
The official who discussed authorities' inability to question Rahami was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
NBC 4 New York reported that Rahami may be more seriously injured than first thought as at least one bullet during his shootout with Linden police missed vital organs. He is expected to survive according to the station's report.
Prosecutors say Rahami, 28, planned the explosions for months as he bought components for his bombs online and set off a backyard blast. They say he wrote a journal that praised Osama bin Laden and other Muslim extremists, fumed about what he saw as the U.S. government's killing of Muslim holy warriors and declared "death to your oppression."
The bombings in Seaside Park and Manhattan spurred a manhunt that ended Monday in Linden. Patrolman Angel Padilla said he tried to roust a man sleeping in a doorway and recognized Rahami's face from a public alert hours before.
Authorities say Rahami shot Padilla in his protective vest before other officers exchanged gunfire with Rahami and subdued him.
Padilla told students Thursday at a Linden school that he was "a bit nervous" when he confronted Rahami, but "I can only say: I was just doing my job."
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