Convicted Chelsea Bomber Gets Life Term For NJ Shootout

AP News
January 24, 2020 - 10:27 am
Ahmad Khan Rahimi

Union County Prosecutor's Office

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — An Afghan-born U.S. citizen already serving life in prison for a bombing in New York City has been sentenced to an additional life term for a shootout with police in New Jersey as he attempted to avoid arrest.

A judge sentenced Ahmad Khan Rahimi on Friday. 

The shooting occurred in Linden, New Jersey, two days after a bomb had exploded in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood in September 2016.

In October, a jury convicted Rahimi on all 30 counts, involving attempted murder and multiple aggravated assault counts involving five officers, plus several weapons charges.

Rahimi is a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan but grew up in New Jersey. He was previously convicted in a separate trial of planting two bombs in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, one of which detonated with enough force to hurl a 100-pound trash bin more than 120 feet, shatter windows and leave metal scraps strewn on the street.

No one was killed, but 30 people suffered injuries, including cuts caused by flying metal and glass. A second bomb planted on the street failed to explode.

The bombing came just hours after a small pipe bomb detonated harmlessly along the route of a Marine Corps charity road race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

Investigators identified him as a suspect through a mobile phone attached to the Manhattan bomb that didn’t detonate.

As authorities hunted for him, they discovered a backpack containing additional explosives near a New Jersey transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Rahimi graduated from high school in New Jersey in 2007 and later attended community college, where he majored in criminal justice but didn’t graduate. His family operated a chicken takeout restaurant in Elizabeth not far from the courthouse where he was tried.

At Rahimi’s sentencing in New York, prosecutors criticized him for not showing remorse and for seeking to radicalize fellow prisoners at the federal jail in New York where he had been imprisoned since his arrest.

They maintained he gave inmates copies of terrorist propaganda and jihadist materials, including speeches and lectures by al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.