Bombing suspect arrested, but New York security still elevated

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A policeman takes a photo of a man they identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, as he is placed into an ambulance in Linden, New Jersey, in this still image taken from video September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Anthony Genaro     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSOGS6

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GWEN IFILL:  They say they’ve got their man.  Now they’re trying to figure out his motive.  An arrest this morning in New Jersey has ended a manhunt in a series of bombings and attempted bombings around New York City and New Jersey.

MAN:  That’s definitely him.

GWEN IFILL:  Ahmad Khan Rahami was loaded into an ambulance, bloody and dazed after a gun battle with police.  The 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan was captured in Linden, New Jersey, after he was recognized sleeping in the doorway of a bar.

That was just hours after police sent text alerts to millions in the New York metro area to be on the lookout for him.  After the shoot-out, in which two police officers and the suspect were injured, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio firmly labeled the bombings terrorism.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, New York City:  We have so more much information obviously than we even had a few hours ago.  Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.

GWEN IFILL:  It all began on Saturday morning in a bomb attack in the beach town of Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity race to benefit Marines.  No one was injured there.

Later that night, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, another bomb went off, injuring 29 people.  Surveillance video allegedly caught Rahami planting the device.  A second device, made from a pressure cooker filled with shrapnel, was found undetonated a few blocks away.

And last night, five more pipe bombs were found at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  As robots worked to dismantle them, one exploded suddenly.  Officials linked all of the attacks to Rahami, but offered limited details about how they made that connection.

But, with Rahami as a named suspect, police descended on his family home in Elizabeth.

MAN:  He’s a very friendly guy.  That’s what’s so scary.  It’s hard when it’s home.  They never seemed out of the ordinary.  They were just Americanized.  You would have never known anything.

GWEN IFILL:  At a midday press conference, an FBI official said the agency cannot yet say why Rahami planted the bombs, but that he appeared to have acted alone.

BILL SWEENEY, FBI:  I have no indication that there is a cell operating in the area or in the city.  The investigation is ongoing, so, as we develop more information, we continue to go.  But I have no indication that there is a cell operating here.

GWEN IFILL:  President Obama weighed in from New York, where he’s attending the United Nations General Assembly.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  Even as we have to be vigilant and aggressive, both in preventing senseless acts of violence, but also making sure that we find those who carry out such acts and bring them to justice, we all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don’t succumb to that fear.

GWEN IFILL:  In the wake of the attacks and with hundreds of world leaders converging on the city, police and bomb-sniffing dogs swarmed New York’s Penn Station today.  In addition, 1,000 National Guardsmen have been deployed on the streets of New York City.

Rahami underwent surgery earlier today.  He was shot in the leg during and the arm during the shoot-out with police.  We will have more on the investigation right after the news summary.

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