A major explosion ripped through the upscale New York City neighborhood of Chelsea in Manhattan on Saturday night. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 29 people suffered injuries in what is now being seen as a deliberate bombing. None of the victims’ injuries were thought to be life-threatening.
Following a chase and shootout with police in New Jersey, a suspect in the New York explosion — Ahmad Khan Rahami — has been taken into custody. Rahami is pictured above in two separate image released by law enforcement authorities during the hunt for the man they believe may be the New York bomber.
The following CNN video shows Rahami, who was wounded in a shootout with police, being loaded into an ambulance.
— CNN (@CNN) September 19, 2016
— Buffing Actions ® (@BuffingActions) September 19, 2016
Officials believe that Rahami is the man seen in surveillance footage of the Saturday blast site, dragging a duffel bag that may have contained the homemade bomb, according to a CNN report. He is reported to be 28 years old and a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Afghanistan, and whose last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Earlier on Sunday, law enforcement sources reported that the same man was seen on surveillance video dragging a duffel bag and leaving it at the location of the blast on 23rd Street, about 40 minutes prior to the explosion on Saturday night, as well as later on 27th Street — where a second apparent explosive device was found later on Saturday.
Investigators embarked on manhunt for in individual seen at both sites, now believed to have been Rahami.
The cable news channel CNN reported the existence of the surveillance video, citing multiple law enforcement sources. The video also showed two men removing a white garbage bag from the second duffel bag and leaving it on the sidewalk. The law enforcement sources told CNN that that garbage bag likely contained the second explosive device, a “pressure cooker” bomb, which did not explode.
Both devices were pressure cooker bombs filled with shrapnel and triggered by “flip” style cell phones and Christmas lights, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to The New York Times on Sunday. The shrapnel consisted of small metal ball bearings or BBs, the sources told The Times.
The “pressure cooker” bomb is similar to the homemade explosive devices used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. CNN obtained a police image of the device, seen below.
But an unnamed United States official told the Israeli newspaper Haartez that the bombs deployed by the New York bomber or bombers were extremely easy to create, meaning that they did not necessarily indicate a connection to any sophisticated international terrorist group.
“Almost anybody could have fabricated these bombs and used cellphones as timed detonators,” the official told Haaretz. “There are instructions all over the internet, and the crudity, positioning, and relative ineffectiveness of these does not suggest that a more sophisticated group played any role in this.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press briefing said that investigators determined the explosion to be “an intentional act.” But the mayor added that the investigators did not detect any link between the apparent bombing and organized terrorism.
Cautioning that the investigation into the blast was still in “very, very early” stages, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the bombing “obviously as act of terrorism” but said that there was no evidence of an international connection to the act.
The New York Post reported that the explosion came from inside a dumpster, and a destroyed dumpster was shown in social media images, including one posted by the NYPD Counterterrorism Unit.
— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) September 18, 2016
— Avidor.Law (@JonAvidor) September 18, 2016
An eight-year-old child was reported to be among the injured victims of the explosion.
Explosion on 23rd and 6th. These two cars had back windows blown out while driving. 8 year old in back seat injured. pic.twitter.com/aKDra2LaIC
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) September 18, 2016
The explosion happened outdoors, outside a 14-story building used as a home for the blind.
Security cameras captured the explosion as it happened. The blast can be seen across the street to the left of the image in the following video at about the 36-second mark.
In the following video, the explosion footage is zoomed in, and slowed down.
The following video, shown on CNN, shows the immediate aftermath of the explosion from inside a fitness center located across 23rd Street from the blast.
A New York Police Department spokesperson told the CNBC network that there was an “active scene” at 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, but provided no further details. But social media lit up with reports of a blast, attributing the explosion to an IED, or improvised explosive device — in other words, a homemade bomb — and though that report was picked up by WIBA Radio News, there has been no confirmation on what may have caused the blast from New York authorities.
Law enforcement investigators ruled out the possibility of a gas leak as the cause of the explosion according to CNN producer Steve Brusk.
“It likely came from an improvised device,” an unnamed city official told The New York Times. “We don’t understand the target or the significance of it. It’s by a pile of Dumpsters on a random sidewalk.”
Investigators picked up a suspect about eight blocks from the explosion and were questioning that person late in Saturday night, according to a New York Daily News report. However, the Times later reported that no suspect was in custody.
The NYPD reportedly used the code 10-33 to refer to the explosion, which, according to one local reporter, indicates that they believe that a “device,” in other words a bomb, was the cause of the explosion.
6th Ave & 21st st just south of explosion. Source says NYPD declared explosion & 10-33. 10-33 is code for a device pic.twitter.com/AfCF6se3to
— Ti-Hua Chang (@tihuachang) September 18, 2016
The NYPD Special Operations Unit reported finding what may be a second explosive device, one which did not go off, at about 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
JUST IN: NYPD investigating possible “secondary” suspicious device on 27th St between 6th and 7th Avenues. pic.twitter.com/kHzJxquwTd
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2016
NYPD Assistant Communications Commissioner J. Peter Donald said that the blast took place at about 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and confirmed “several” injuries.
Explosion happened at roughly 8:30pm on 23rd street between 6th and 7th avenues. Several injured transported to area hospitals.
— J. Peter Donald (@JPeterDonald) September 18, 2016
— Mike Valerio (@MikeNBC12) September 18, 2016
The explosion happened on West 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan, according to a report by New York City station WPIX TV.
Washington Post reporter Sean Sullivan reported that speaking in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump immediately characterized the explosion in New York City as “a bomb.”
COLORADO SPRINGS — Full Trump quote in NYC situation, as I heard it: pic.twitter.com/2OobuV0c5n
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) September 18, 2016
The New York City explosion came hours after a pipe bomb placed in a garbage can blew up in the New Jersey shore town of Seaside, near a charity race organized by the United States Marine Corps. That explosion resulted in no injuries, and the bomb appeared to have been botched by whoever constructed it.
Police also found three unexploded pipe bombs bound together near the scene on the boardwalk in Seaside. According to a CNN report, federal investigators described the explosive device as “rudimentary.”
This story is breaking and will be updated frequently. Please return to this page for updates and further information as they become available.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]