A Union County jury convicted Ahmad Khan Rahimi on Tuesday of attempting to kill Linden police officers during a wild gunfight that ensued after he was identified as a wanted man in bombings throughout New York and New Jersey.
Rahimi, of Elizabeth, is serving a life sentence for planting bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in September 2016. He still faces separate federal charges in connection to placing bombs at a military charity 5K race in Seaside Park and at a train station in Elizabeth that same month.
Rahimi now faces another possible life sentence for shooting at five officers, wounding two, in the gun battle in the days after the bombs were located, and during which he was apprehended.
Rahimis public defender, Nicholas Kormann, who argued his client acted in self-defense, declined to comment while walking out of the court house.
Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr. said the verdict brought closure for the five officers.
Were extremely pleased and satisfied with the jurys verdict. Were especially happy for the five officers who risked their lives trying to apprehend Rahimi. Its been three long years and theyve finally got closure to this very scary and frightening event, Cernadas said.
Jurors deliberated for about 11 hours between last Thursday and Tuesday before convicting him on all counts. On Tuesday, jurors re-watched body-worn camera footage from Rahimis arrest.
Outside the courtroom, former Linden officer Angel Padilla celebrated the verdict. He was shot in the abdomen.
Padilla was first officer at the scene and confronted Rahimi as he slept on the front steps of a tavern on Elizabeth Avenue. The bar owner had called police.
Rahimi shot Padilla in the chest after he called for back-up, but his bullet-proof vest saved him from serious injury. Its a day Padilla says he cant fully forget.
I live in town, so I drive in that area all the time. Even when you dont want to think about it, you cant help it. It creeps up on you., Padilla said after the verdict. Its finally over. This gentleman here affected a lot of people. I prayed for this day to come.
Rahimi, 31, who was born in Afghanistan and became a naturalized American citizen, ran from Padilla and began shooting at other responding officers. Rahimi was shot multiple times and arrested.
A journal authorities found on Rahimi made references to al-Qaeda an ISIS leaders and read: Gunshots to your police. Death to your oppression.
Rahimi was convicted of multiple counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 15.