Authorities hunting for the suspect in the botched Times Square bombing dramatically beat the clock overnight, seizing a Pakistani-American citizen moments before he was set to begin a long trip to his strife-torn homeland.
Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested around 11:45 p.m. ET Monday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Attorney General Eric Holder.
Investigators found a 9mm handgun with clips and ammunition in a vehicle that the suspect is believed to have driven to the airport, a federal law enforcement source said Tuesday.
In addition, authorities found 15 bags of “standard green fertilizer” and flash powder in the trash outside Shahzad’s apartment in Connecticut, the source said.
Shahzad will appear after 2 p.m. ET Tuesday in federal court, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said.
Shahzad was on board Emirates Airlines Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the jetway had been pulled back when the plane was called to return to the gate, a law enforcement source said. Shahzad was booked through to Islamabad, Pakistan, via Dubai, a senior airline official confirmed.
“They just caught him at the last second,” a law enforcement source said.
The FBI said its agents and New York detectives arrested Shahzad “for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square.”
President Obama said Tuesday that “justice will be done” in the case and that U.S. officials “will do everything in our power to protect the American people.”
The failed bombing is “another sobering reminder of the times in which we live,” Obama told an audience of business leaders. But the United States “will be vigilant” and “will not cower in fear,” he said.
Also Tuesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the dogged law enforcement efforts but also said the city won’t tolerate any backlash against Pakistanis or Muslims.
“This was an act designed to kill innocent civilians and strike fear into the hearts of Americans,” Bloomberg said. “And I’m happy to say that it failed on both counts. We will not be intimidated by those who hate the freedoms that make the city and this country so great.”
Security officials removed three passengers from the flight late Monday, including Shahzad, a senior airline official said.