Wednesday, September 21, 2016

'I am ... what America looks like,' says Indian/American Sikh who led police to bombing suspect

Captured off a CNN video
Harinder Bains: 'I am ... what America looks like"
A SIKH/AMERICAN business owner is being hailed as a hero for helping police find and arrest Ahmad Khan Rahami, suspected for planting and exploding bombs in New Jersey and New York last weekend.

Harinder Bains, the bar owner in Linden, N.J., found Rahami sleeping in the doorway of his bar on Monday (Sept. 19) after being notified by Bains, owner of Merdie's Tavern.

Bains said he was watching CNN on his laptop from another business across the street. At first, he thought he was some "drunk guy" resting in the vestibule. 

"When I heard about the attacks and realised the suspect was sleeping in a doorway across the street, I did what any American would do. I called the police. I'm not a hero. The police are heroes; the EMTs are heroes; everyone who is working to bring New York and New Jersey together today is a hero," Bains told reporters

"I'm just a regular citizen doing what every citizen should do. Cops are the real heroes, law enforcement are the real heroes," Bains told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

When officers responded, Rahami pulled out a handgun and opened fire, striking an officer in the chest. A foot chase followed, during which Rahami shot at a police car, causing a bullet to graze another office in the face. The chase ended when Rahami was shot multiple times.

He was taken to a hospital for surgery. Rahami was not initially cooperative with police who tried to interview him, a law enforcement official said.

Bomb suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami
Federal prosecutors charged Rahami on Sept. 20 with use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destruction of property by means of explosives, and use of a destructive device during and in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

Rahami faces four counts in connection with the Sept. 17 bombing on West 23rd Street in the Chelsea section of Manhattan and the placement of a second explosive device a few blocks north on West 27th Street, according to the complaint.

A separate federal complaint, filed yesterday (Sept. 20) in New Jersey, charged Rahami with six counts — including two more for use of a weapon of mass destruction — related to the Sept. 17 morning bombing in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and the discovery of an explosive-laden package Sunday night near the Elizabeth, New Jersey, train station.

Authorities said the investigation surrounding Rahami continues saying they are seeking the whereabouts of his wife, who reportedly left the U.S. a few days before the bombings; and two men seen on video who removed the second bomb from the duffel bag it was in and left with the baggage. Authorities stress the two men are being sought as witnesses, not as bombing suspects.

Rahami first came to the United States in 1995 as a child, after his father arrived seeking asylum, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011, according to a law enforcement official who reviewed his travel and immigration record.Rahami traveled for extended periods to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last five years, officials said. While in Pakistan in July 2011, he married a Pakistani woman. Two years later, in April 2013, he went to Pakistan and remained there until March 2014, visiting Afghanistan before returning to the United States.

Bains said as a Sikh/American, he understand that "I could have been mistaken for the perpetrator. My faith teaches me justice and tolerance for all and I know that I'm lucky to live in a community that shares this view."

Bains, who had immigrated from Chandigarh in 1996, stressed that after any attack, Americans should target people based on evidence of their role in the crime and not because of their faith or their country of origin or their accent.

"I came to this country from India 20 years ago to create a better life for my family. I am a father of four and a proud American citizen. I am also what America looks like," he said to Newsday.

Bains said America is strongest when all Americans stand together in the face of violence "intended to divide us."