Immigrant who helped nab Ahmad Rahami says he did ‘what every American would have done’


Harinder Bains first thought that the man he saw in the doorway of his Linden, New Jersey, bar on Monday morning was just another drunk sleeping off a hangover from the night before.

Then he saw the man’s face.

Bains, who was opening his deli across the street from Merdie’s Tavern, thought the man looked a lot like Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old suspect in a string of bombings in New Jersey and neighboring New York City over the weekend.

Bains, whom CNN identified as a Sikh immigrant, went outside into the rain to get a better look at the man.

NJ.com reported that Bains hurried back inside and, after thinking over the situation for 15 or 20 minutes, asked a friend what he thought of the man across the street. His friend, too, believed that the man looked like Rahami, whose picture they had seen while watching CNN. Bains decided to call 911.

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The arrival of police spurred a gun battle that left both Rahami and a Linden police officer shot and another officer injured by glass. The police officer’s bulletproof vest stopped a bullet that struck him in the torso.

Rahami was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. The two officers’ injuries were also non-life-threatening.  

Bains told NJ.com that he hid in the deli, but watched the shootout unfold through a window. He said he witnessed Rahami shoot the officer before running down the street.

Rahami began shooting at cars after being boxed in by unmarked police vehicles, Bains said. The officers returned fire, injuring him and taking him into custody outside an auto body shop.

The suspect was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer for the shootout, NJ.com reported.

Rahami also faces federal charges stemming from the bombs he is accused of planting in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and Seaside Park in New Jersey. The bomb in Chelsea injured 29 people.

Bains told CNN that he does not consider himself a hero and that he was acting according to his Sikh faith.

"I did what I think every American would have done," Bains said. "My neighbor would have done the same thing. Any Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Muslim. Anybody would have done the same thing."


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