Officials release background information on the New York blast suspect

Image via Christina Horsten's Twitter account

Officials have released information on the identity of the Bangladeshi suspect in Monday’s New York blast beneath Times Square.

Officials said Alkayed Ullah, 27, is an angry former limousine driver who learned to build a bomb on the internet at his Brooklyn apartment.The suspect was in police custody after enduring injuries from a pipe bomb he fastened to his torso with Velcro and zip ties. Three other civilians were also hurt in the explosion in a pedestrian tunnel linking two subway stops beneath West 42nd Street.

Arlene Jograj, a teacher and a neighbor in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Windsor Terrace, was shocked and said there were no signs of extremism and that although she had not seen him in months she recalled his home to be a quiet and one observant of Islamic customs.

Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said Ullah originally came from the southeastern Bangladeshi district of Chittagong and last visited the country on Sept. 8; adding that Ullah had no criminal record in Bangladesh.

Ullah was not previously known to any US spy or law enforcement agency for any connection to militant groups. But some officials still look into the possibility.

It has been reported that the suspect first came to the US seven years ago on a family visa.

US investigators believe he was influenced by extreme ideologies after entering the United States; probably by watching militant propaganda on the internet.

He held a license to drive a limousine or black cab as an independent contractor from March 2012 through March 2015, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said in a statement.

An Uzbek immigrant was reported earlier to have ran over people on a bicycle path on Oct. 31, killing eight civilians. With this, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo called Ullah another “lone wolf” as each acted alone, inspired by Jihadist groups such as Islamic State.

He also noted how both of them went on the web and downloaded information on how to make a bomb online.

Cuomo described the two as “disgruntled”, after he went to the scene of the crime where he met with investigators, even describing Ullah as “angry”.

NYPD shut down an entire block of row houses in Windsor Terrace; deploying a large show of force with at least one helicopter flying overhead. It is not clear if the neighborhood was Ullah’s most recent address.

Jorgraj described the neighborhood as a diverse, family-oriented neighborhood of longstanding white families of Italian and Polish descent with more recent Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi arrivals.

She said the incident doesn’t change her opinion of the neighborhood at all and stated this is just the state of the world we live in now.