Bombing Suspect Rahami Was Found Sleeping in the Hallway of a Bar

The town's mayor and police said a routine call led to Rahami's arrest.

ByABC News
September 19, 2016, 1:50 PM

— -- When the owner of a bar in Linden, New Jersey, found a man sleeping in a hallway, he called local authorities. By complete chance, the call led to the arrest of the subject of an intense FBI manhunt.

Ahmad Rahami, suspected of being connected to several bomb incidents over the weekend in New York and New Jersey, was taken into custody after a gunfight with police, according to law enforcement officers and Linden Mayor Derek Armstead. Despite an alert seeking information about Rahami and a widely circulated FBI wanted poster, it was a routine trespassing call that led to his arrest.

Armstead told ABC News that a police officer went to investigate the man sleeping in the hallway of the bar and wake him up. Soon after arriving, he said, the officer recognized the man as Rahami.

"He realized it was the suspect, and within moments, the suspect fired on him," Armstead told ABC station WABC. "Thank God that he had his [bulletproof] vest on. I think that saved his life."

James Sarnicki, another responding officer, expanded on the mayor's account of events, for WABC.

"When the officer tried to rouse the man in the doorway, he noticed he had a beard on and looked like the suspect being sought," Sarnicki said. "The suspect had his hand on the side in a valise, and he pulled out a handgun and fired a shot at the officer, striking him in his bulletproof vest in his abdomen."

The officer returned fire, and the suspect got up and started walking down the street, Sarnicki said, adding that at some point, officers responded and "were able to actually take him down."

By the time news media arrived, Rahami was restrained and was being taken away on what appeared to be an ambulance gurney.

The arrest of the sleeping suspect is not the only coincidence to possibly save lives in relation to the three bombing incidents. None resulted in fatalities.

The first explosion, which took place in Seaside Park, New Jersey, along the route of a 5K charity race, did not harm any runners because of a delay starting the competition.

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