New York bomber Ahmad Rahimi convicted in shootout with Linden policePosted: Updated:
An Islamic terrorist already serving a life prison term for a bombing in New York City was convicted Tuesday of multiple counts of attempted murder and assault stemming from a shootout with police in Linden in September 2016.
Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan but grew up in New Jersey, sat quietly during the reading of the verdicts Tuesday.
The jury convicted Rahimi on Tuesday of all 30 counts: attempted murder and multiple aggravated assault counts involving five officers, plus several weapons charges. In doing so, jurors rejected an argument by Rahimi's attorney that he acted in self-defense.
"Today's verdict is a testament to the incredible bravery of the officers of the Linden Police Department," acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said.
Among the spectators in the gallery was Angel Padilla, the Linden police officer who was the first to encounter Rahimi as he slept in a doorway of a Linden bar, two days after a bomb exploded in New York.
Padilla said he immediately recognized Rahimi from wanted pictures and was in the process of questioning him when Rahimi rose and shot him twice. Padilla's bulletproof vest is credited with saving his life.
"That's not something that I was expecting to happen on that day. I was there for a man in the vestibule and never would I have ever thought that it would end the way it did," Padilla said.
Padilla is one of three Linden officers involved in the shooting who has since retired.
"He took away from me something that I took an oath to do, to protect and serve and I didn't know that that was going to be the way it was going to end," he said.
Rahimi 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, shattering windows and leaving 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 the Seaside Semper Five Marine charity race in Seaside Park.
Investigators identified Rahimi 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 train station in Elizabeth.
Rahimi still faces a six-count federal criminal complaint in New Jersey charging him with detonating the bomb at the charity road race and with placing the bomb-filled backpack near the train station.
He will be sentenced for the Linden shooting on Nov. 15.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.
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