Bombing suspect pleads not guilty in police shootings


ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A man accused of setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York, injuring more than 30 people, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he tried to kill police officers before they captured him.

An attorney for Ahmad Khan Rahimi entered the pleas as Rahimi appeared from his hospital bed in Newark in his first public appearance since last month’s bombings and police chase.

Rahimi, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen, has been hospitalized with gunshot wounds since a police shootout that led to his capture on Sept. 19 outside a bar in Linden. His head was propped up on pillows, while his public defender stood by his side wearing a disposable hospital gown and plastic gloves.

Rahimi, 28, is charged with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer and weapons offenses. He was read his rights by Judge Regina Caulfield and answered “yes” to a series of questions she asked him.

He is accused of detonating a pipe bomb along the route of a Marine Corps charity race in the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park and a pressure cooker bomb in New York City on Sept. 17. No one was injured in the New Jersey blast, and 31 people were hurt in the New York blast. A second pressure cooker bomb did not explode.

Rahimi also faces federal charges in both states.

Officer Angel Padilla, who prosecutors say was shot by Rahimi, was in court along with fellow Linden officers.

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This story has been corrected to show the suspect’s surname is Rahimi, not Rahami, based on updated information provided by his lawyer in court.

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