The man accused of parking an explosives-laden SUV in Times Square nearly got away.
Authorities pulled 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad off a plane about to take off for Dubai Monday night. The suspect managed to board the Emirates airlines flight at JFK Airport despite the fact he’d been placed on a no-fly list. Customs agents reportedly spotted the man’s name on a passenger manifest and stopped the plane. Agents then boarded the craft and calmly hauled Shahzad away.
Initially, police had reportedly intended to arrest the suspect at his Connecticut apartment, but they lost track of him despite the fact he’d been under constant watch.
Shahzad reportedly admitted to his role in the attempted bombing and has been cooperating with investigators, providing valuable information, although authorities are still trying to pin down a motive for the attempted attack.
Court documents have shed light on the suspect’s past activities. He allegedly received explosives training at a terrorist camp last year in the lawless Waziristan region of his native Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban tried to claim responsibility for the attempted attack, but authorities are still trying to determine if there’s enough evidence to support that claim. Shahzad reportedly told authorities he acted alone.
Authorities in Pakistan detained several people and reportedly arrested at least one person, but American investigators aren’t sure those actions are directly connected to the Times Square case.
Court documents show Shahzad is a well-educated married father of two. He received a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and worked as a budget analyst for a marketing firm.
After he became a U.S. citizen a year ago, he quit his job, stopped paying his mortgage, and returned to Pakistan.
Shahzad is accused of rigging a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder with a crude explosive device made up of fireworks, gas and propane canisters and a non-explosive grade fertilizer. Authorities claim he left the vehicle on 45th Street Saturday evening, near a theatre featuring the popular show “The Lion King”. A T-shirt vendor spotted smoke billowing from the truck and alerted police.
The suspect allegedly bought the SUV a few weeks earlier. Authorities said its vehicle identification number had been removed from the dash and they traced its plates to a car from a Connecticut auto repair shop.