Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the man charged with leaving two bombs in New York City last September — with one of the bombs detonating and injuring 30 people in the Chelsea neighborhood — has been convicted of terrorism charges in federal court. Rahimi was later captured after a shootout with police in New Jersey.
A jury found the 29-year-old Afghanistan-born man — who was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when he carried out the attack — guilty on all counts, including the most serious charge of detonating a weapon of mass destruction in public. He’s also accused of detonating a bomb in Seaside Park, New Jersey. No one was injured in that explosion. Rahimi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“On September 17, 2016, [Rahimi] attacked our country and our way of life. Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, in the heart of Manhattan, and in New Jersey, hoping to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible,” Joon Kim, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in statement following the announcement of the verdict Monday.
“Rahimi’s crimes of hate have been met with swift and resolute justice. Just over a year after his attacks, and following a fair and open trial, Rahimi now stands convicted of his crimes of terror by a unanimous jury of New Yorkers,” Kim said.
"The fact that victims were not killed when one bomb exploded and another failed to detonate is miraculous," NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement following the verdict.
"[Rahimi] was following the hateful propaganda of al-Qaida and ISIS that calls for the killing of Americans. The combined efforts of the FBI, NYPD, the New York State Police and the Linden New Jersey Police Department led to the capture of Mr. Rahimi within 50 hours of the bombing," O'Neill said. "The investigation, as well as this conviction, is an example of the work of the nation’s best counterterrorism team.”
The federal jury deliberated over two days after a trial where the defense did little to challenge the government’s case that Rahimi carried out the attack.