Review Category : National News

Federal Authorities Expected to Charge NY, NJ Bombing Suspect

NYPD(NEW YORK) — Federal authorities are expected to charge Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in the New York and New Jersey explosions, in the Southern District of New York and in New Jersey.

The charges are expected to include several counts related to placing and detonating weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.

This story is developing. Check back for more updates.

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U-2 Spy Plane Crashes in California, One of Two Pilots Killed

U.S. Air Force photo(NEW YORK) — A U-2 Air Force reconnaissance aircraft crashed Tuesday in Sutter County, California, killing one of the two pilots aboard.

Both pilots aboard ejected, but one was killed and another sustained injuries, the Air Force said in a statement.

The aircraft crashed near the Sutter Buttes at 9:05 a.m. PDT, about 15 minutes after takeoff from the base, according to a statement from Beale Air Force Base.

“The aircraft was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, and was on a training mission,” the statement said.

Beale Air Force Base is located 40 miles north of Sacramento. Sutter County is located west of the Air Force base.

Operational U-2 planes are single-seater aircraft, but there are five two-seater versions used to train new pilots.

First used in the late 1950’s, the high-altitude U-2 aircraft are still being used to gain intelligence on the battlefield.

They are deployed to the Middle East to help in gathering visual intelligence on ISIS, according to military officials.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Watch Second NJ Cop Injured in Shootout with Bombing Suspect Leave Hospital

Linden Police Department(NEWARK, N.J.) — The second of the two New Jersey police officers injured in a shootout with suspect in New York and New Jersey bombings was released from the hospital late Tuesday morning.

The Linden Police Department posted video of a Linden officer, Peter Hammer, whom the department called “our hero,” greeted by an applauding crowd of fellow officers as he was wheeled out of University Hospital in Newark.

Hammer spent the night in the hospital for observation after a bullet grazed his head in the shootout, the police department said.

The other injured Linden officer, Angel Padilla, called by the department “our second hero,” was released from the hospital Monday after he was shot in his bulletproof vest, the police said.

“We thank all the well-wishers who have called and emailed us praying for our officers,” the department said.

“I am very proud of the officers,” Linden Police Chief Jonathan Parham told ABC News’ Amy Robach. “They did an amazing job. It’s something that we continually train for. However, no matter how much training you do, you’re never really sure how you’re going to respond. These officers did a fantastic job. Thank God they’re alive.”

Parham said he’s also thankful his officers had their bulletproof vests, adding that they had discussed that very morning the importance of wearing them.

But, Parham added, it’s impossible to fully prepare for such a situation.

“The amount of stress that these officers were under and the amount of time that it takes them to discern a situation and react … there’s no way to re-create that in training,” he said.

Parham said he’s “proud of the way the officers handled themselves” and how “they came together” during the Monday morning manhunt.

“We had officers dispatch themselves from home. We had officers from other agencies show up,” he said. “I’m proud of law enforcement as a whole and how, when something happens, we just pull together to help each other.”

The suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody and hospitalized Monday after firing at police in the tense confrontation in Linden, just hours after authorities issued an alert looking for him, the Union County acting prosecutor said.

Rahami, 28, has been “directly linked” to the devices that exploded in New York and New Jersey on Saturday, said Bill Sweeney, who heads the FBI’s New York office.

Rahami is facing charges including five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

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U-2 Spy Plane Crashes in California, Two Pilots Eject

U.S. Air Force photo(NEW YORK) — A U-2 Air Force reconnaissance aircraft has crashed in Sutter County, California, military officials said Tuesday.

Both pilots aboard ejected, but their status is unknown, officials said.

“We can confirm a U-2 from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base has gone down in Sutter County, California,” an Air Force spokesperson said. “Two pilots have ejected. Additional details to follow when available.”

Beale Air Force Base is located 40 miles north of Sacramento. Sutter County is located west of the Air Force base.

Operational U-2 aircraft are single-seater aircraft, but there are two-seater versions used to train new pilots.

First used in the late 1950s, the high-altitude U-2 aircraft are still being used to gain intelligence on the battlefield.

They are deployed to the Middle East to help in gathering visual intelligence on ISIS, according to military officials.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Unassuming Hero in Minnesota Mall Attack Speaks Out

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images(ST. CLOUD, Minn.) — The off-duty police officer who shot and killed the knife-wielding Minnesota mall attacker said he is staying out of the spotlight until the investigation is over, but is grateful for all the messages of support he has received.

Jason Falconer, who has been hailed a “hero” by many Americans, including the president, went right back to work after bravely intervening in Saturday’s stabbing incident at the Crossroad’s Center Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, according to local ABC News affiliate KSTP-TV.

Ten bystanders suffered injuries when Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, began stabbing people at the shopping center. None of the injuries are life-threatening, authorities said. Falconer shot Adan dead, and authorities believe his quick action saved lives.

Falconer spoke to KSTP-TV at the Tactical Advantage, a firearms shop where he is an employee.

Falconer said he was at the mall on Saturday “buying his son’s birthday present,” which he was able to bring home despite the horrific scene that unfolded.

Falconer said he shot at Adan “to stop the threat.”

The Avon Police Department said in a statement that Falconer has worked as a part-time police officer since 2007, and also works as Avon City’s firearms training officer.

President Obama told reporters Monday that he thanked Falconer on the phone.

“I talked to off-duty police officer there, who undoubtedly saved a lot of lives and prevented additional injury. I told him that once again the American people were appreciative of his work and his heroism,” Obama said.

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FBI Opened Previous Inquiry into Bombing Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — Concerns about New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami’s intentions were raised to authorities by his father and a neighbor more than once over the past years, ABC News has learned.

Two years ago Rahami’s father told the FBI that his son was interacting with “bad people” overseas and a concerned citizen in the neighborhood told authorities that Rahami’s associates may have been trying to procure explosives, sources told ABC News exclusively.

The FBI first became aware of Rahami in the summer of 2014, when local law enforcement contacted the agency’s New Jersey field office about him, sources said. The FBI then opened a so-called “guardian” file on Rahami, initiating a process to determine whether Rahami had any links to terrorism or other criminal activity and whether a more formal investigation was warranted.

The assessment of Rahami produced no clear evidence or indications of radicalization, and at one point his father recanted his previous claims, sources said. Rahami was not placed on any U.S. terrorism watchlists.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday outside of his New Jersey home, Rahami’s father said he “called the FBI two years ago” about his son.

“I told them you got a connection with this guy,” he said, without offering any further information.

Nevertheless, in some ways the 2014 case reflects how local, state and federal law enforcement agencies now seek to share and track threat-related information.

In summer 2014, the concerned citizen called local law enforcement in New Jersey to report that Rahami’s father had expressed concern his son may be in contact with people overseas who were collecting explosives, ABC News was told. That information was compiled into a “Suspicious Activity Report” and sent through New Jersey’s state fusion center, ultimately making its way to the FBI.

The FBI then interviewed Rahami’s father, who told the FBI that his son had traveled to Pakistan and was interacting with “bad people,” according to sources. Rahami’s father also told the FBI his son had previously injured and beaten members of his immediate family — but a grand jury declined to file charges against him.

At a press conference Monday, the head of the FBI’s field office in New York, Bill Sweeney, noted that the FBI had previously received “a report of a domestic incident,” adding that “the allegations [were] recanted.” Sweeney did not reference or acknowledge the terrorism-related allegations.

It’s unclear if the FBI or other law enforcement agencies ever interviewed Rahami in 2014.

FBI offices undertake a similar assessment process for nearly all of the tens of thousands of Suspicious Activity Reports sent their way each year.

Like in most cases, the FBI found no significant derogatory information in Rahami’s case, sources told ABC News. And one source emphasized that only a single report came to authorities related to Rahami. Had more reports come in, authorities would have been prompted to take a further look at him, the source said.

“Our job together is to find those needles in a hay stack,” FBI Director James Comey recently told lawmakers. “In fact, our job is harder than that, it’s to find pieces of hay in that haystack that may become a needle and disrupt them before they move from consuming to acting on that [online] poisonous propaganda.”

The FBI’s ability to assess potential terrorists came under intense scrutiny after Florida native Omar Mateen opened fire inside Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June, killing 49 people and injuring scores more.

In May 2013, the FBI had obtained sufficient information to open a preliminary investigation into Mateen — coworkers told authorities that Mateen had made terrorism-related comments at work. But after 10 months of investigation, including two interviews with Mateen, the FBI determined there wasn’t enough information to indicate he was “possibly a terrorist,” as Comey put it after the Orlando attack.

Two months later, in July 2014, the FBI took another look at Mateen because his name “surfaced” in a separate terrorism investigation, Comey told reporters. Mateen was interviewed again, but authorities found no reason to continue tracking him.

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NYC Bombing Suspect’s ‘Journal’ Recovered, Officials Say

NYPD(NEW YORK) — A “journal” belonging to New York City bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami has been recovered by authorities, two federal officials told ABC News.

The writings were apparently on Rahami when he allegedly engaged in a firefight with police and the pages were actually shot through with a bullet.

The officials said that in them, Rahami references the late American al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whose sermons and writings have been linked to a number of terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S.

As of late Monday, authorities had not determined a motive for Rahami, who has been linked to bombings over the weekend in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea and in New Jersey, as well as a number of unexploded devices. Though two of the explosives were housed in pressure cookers, as was the case in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the officials said there was no mention in Rahami’s purported writings of the perpetrators of that attack, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Rahami has been charged with attempted murder related to the shootout with police just before he was apprehended Monday.

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NJ Cops Who Captured Bombing Suspect Were Prepared, ‘Did a Fantastic Job,’ Chief Says

ABC News(LINDEN, N.J.) — The police chief of Linden, New Jersey, is “very proud” of his officers’ preparedness after they engaged in a shootout and captured the suspect in the New York and New Jersey explosions this weekend.

Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody and hospitalized Monday after the encounter with police in Linden, just hours after authorities issued an alert looking for him, the Union County acting prosecutor said.

Rahami, 28, has been “directly linked” to the devices used in the New York and New Jersey explosions on Saturday, Bill Sweeney, who heads the FBI’s New York office, said.

But Linden police chief Jonathan Parham said no one expected the Monday morning manhunt to end in their town.

“We have a phrase that we often joke about: ‘If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready,'” Parham told ABC News’ Amy Robach. “These officers were ready. Very, very proud of that.”

Rahami’s confrontation with police happened at about 10:30 a.m., when the owner of a Linden bar reported that someone was sleeping in a hallway of his establishment, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead told ABC New York station WABC-TV.

An officer “went to investigate and to wake him up,” Armstead said. “He realized it was the suspect and, within moments, the suspect fired on him.”

When the suspect began to engage the officers, Parham said, they “returned fire.”

“And it [the shootout] actually went down the street,” Parham said. “It’s just a miracle that no innocent civilians were hit, thank God. But it took a while to capture the suspect.”

Two officers, Angel Padilla and Peter Hammer, were injured. One of them was shot in his bulletproof vest.

Parham, who visited the officers, said they are doing well and are in good spirits.

“I am very proud of the officers,” Parham told ABC News. “They did an amazing job. It’s something that we continually train for, however no matter how much training you do you’re never really sure how you’re going to respond. These officers did a fantastic job. Thank God, they’re alive.”

Parham said he’s also thankful his officers had their bullet-proof vests, adding that they had discussed that very morning the importance of wearing them.

But, Parham added, it’s impossible to fully prepare for such a situation.

“The amount of stress that these officers were under, and the amount of time that it takes them to discern a situation and react … there’s no way to recreate that in training,” he said.

Parham said he’s also “proud of the way the officers handled themselves” and how “they came together” during the Monday morning manhunt.

“We had officers dispatch themselves from home, we had officers from other agencies show up,” he said. “I’m proud of law enforcement as a whole and how, when something happens, we just pull together to help each other.”

Officer Padilla’s brother, and fellow cop, Lt. Eddie Padilla, told reporters that his brother is his “inspiration. … I’m proud of him. He’s the reason I’m a police office, myself.”

President Obama said Monday afternoon that he spoke on the phone with the officers who apprehended Rahami.

“They are going to be fine, they sustained some modest injuries but ones that they’ll rapidly recover from,” Obama said. “They were in good spirits and I communicated to them of how appreciative the American people are.”

Rahami was taken into custody after being injured in the altercation. He is facing charges including five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday there is “every reason to believe this was an act of terror.” But there is “no indication that there is a cell operating in the area or in the city.”

Sweeney, the FBI official, said, adding that “the investigation is ongoing.”

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Knife-Wielding Minnesota Mall Assailant Likely a ‘Lone Attacker’

iStock/Thinkstock(ST. CLOUD, Minn.) — The knife attack that injured 10 people at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Saturday evening is likely the work of a “lone attacker,” the city’s police chief said Monday. However, the FBI will also continue to investigate.

“We haven’t uncovered anything that would suggest other than a lone attacker at this point,” St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said at a news conference Monday.

President Barack Obama said this morning that the FBI is investigating the incident “as a potential act of terrorism.”

“We will direct the full resources from the federal government to make sure that the investigation goes forward aggressively,” he said. At this point, there is no intelligence that links the Minnesota incident to incidents involving explosive devices in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, he said at a press conference.

ISIS claimed that the Minnesota attacker was “a soldier of the Islamic State,” according to Rasd, a news agency operated by ISIS, although it is still unclear how the group may be linked to the stabbings.

Ten people —- eight men, one woman and a teenage girl —- were injured in Saturday’s attack at the Crossroads Center mall; none of their injuries were life-threatening, according to authorities.

According to authorities, the assailant wore a security guard’s uniform and mentioned Allah, asking at least one of his victims if the person was Muslim before continuing his attack. The suspect has since been identified as 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan.

The assailant was killed by an off-duty Avon police officer, identified as Jason Falconer, whom officials praised at a press conference Monday.

President Obama told reporters Monday before meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister that he thanked Falconer, who stepped in during the Minnesota attacks, on the phone.

“I talked to off-duty police officer there, who undoubtedly saved a lot of lives and prevented additional injury,” the president said. “I told him that once again the American people were appreciative of his work and his heroism.”

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Video Shows Good Samaritans Delivering Treats to First Responders in NYC

Zach Escalante(NEW YORK) — Video shows Good Samaritans delivering pizza and coffee to police officers guarding the scene of this weekend’s explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

A video posted to Instagram shows New Yorkers approaching the NYPD officers guarding the scene with boxes of pizza.

Another video shows a man handing out coffee and pastries to officers working the scene. An officer tells the man “thank you” as he hands the treats over the barricade.

There were three explosions over the weekend, one in Chelsea and two others in New Jersey. The explosion in Chelsea injured 29 people. There were no fatalities.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was named a person of interest in the explosions, was taken into custody earlier Monday morning after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey.

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