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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Suspect in NY, NJ Bombings Captured After Shootout; Source: Note Found with NY Bomb Mentions Boston Bombers; Sources: Suspect Traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan; Bar Owner Who Spotted Suspect Speaks; The Politics Of Terror; Source: NY Bombs Contained Homemade Explosive. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 19, 2016 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us here overlooking midtown Manhattan.

It is a city breathing a sigh of relief tonight, a city that's almost used to this -- if a city can ever get used to bombings and shootouts. One bombing here to be exact, one not far away and ten explosive devices. Dozens of people hurt and a suspect now in custody, charged with multiple counts including attempted murder, all in the space of just three days.

There is much within sight of the World Trade Center where barely more than a week ago, people gathered to mark 15 years since the 9/11 attacks. What began on Saturday with a detonation, a road race on the Jersey shore ended late this morning in a gun battle just across New York harbor.

This is exclusive new video we just obtained of that gun battle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GUN SHOTS)

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(GUN SHOTS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When the shooting ended, so did a very tense three days.

However, the questions about the crimes, the alleged terrorist, his travels, including we're learning to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and potentially wider ties -- well, those questions are just beginning. As for the security concerns, they're growing especially with the U.N. in session and hundreds of world leaders coming to this city.

And there's the political fallout. Just 50 days until Americans pick a new president, is there already spreading.

A lot to cover. CNN's John Sciutto is on the timeline. CNN's Drew Griffin on who the suspect is, his ties to the neighborhood and the dangerous world he came from. CNN's Evan Perez, on the explosives, themselves, and what they can tell us.

A brief note first. We will not be dwelling on the suspect's name or his face, however, because his connections and motivations may be relevant. We're not making a point of withholding them, either, as we do in other cases like this.

So, with that, the very latest now, including the charges against him from CNN's Jim Sciutto who joins us now.

What do we know about the suspect?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The first charges they're filing against him are attempted murder of police officers. That, of course, arising from that gun battle we just showed there. Four police officers injured in that gun battle. But this clearly just the beginning of what's going to be a tortured, difficult legal process for him after an attempted reign of terror across two states.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go! Get off the street!

SCIUTTO (voice-over): A weekend of terror across the two states included two bombings and the discovery of several unexploded devices.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.

SCIUTTO: It started at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in the beach town of Seaside Park, New Jersey. Thousands of people were about to run a marine corps charity race when a pipe bomb exploded in a garbage can near the starting line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get off the street right now!

SCIUTTO: Then, that night, panic on the streets of New York City. A bomb built from a pressure cooker explodes. It detonated at approximately 8:30 p.m. on 23rd Street and 6th Avenue, injuring 29 and sending panicked crowds running for cover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what hit me. I flew off my feet.

SCIUTTO: Police scramble, searching the area and finding another suspicious looking pressure cooker located just several blocks away on 27th Street. Both devices packed with ball bearings, commonly used in bombs to maximize human damage.

Investigators say surveillance footage shows a man they believe to be Rahami with a duffel bag at both Manhattan locations. He leaves the bag at the spot where police later find the unexploded pressure cooker.

A multistate manhunt launched for Rahami after he is identified by a fingerprint left on a cell phone in one of the explosive devices. At 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a backpack

containing up to five pipe bombs found in a garbage can, outside a neighborhood pub just 500 feet from a train trestle. One of those bombs detonated when police sent a robot to examine the devices, after two men had alerted them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Jim is here.

Do we know, are law enforcement looking at any other suspects?

SCIUTTO: They are at least looking for others who may be involved. We heard the NYPD say today that they're not actively looking for, say, another bomber. That there's not a risk, they don't believe there's a risk out there of someone else who's going to carry out an attack but to the support network, they say that their operating assumption is, and some of this is out of abundance of caution, that he did have support, some sort of network. That's where they're focusing his attention -- who might have provided money, training, et cetera in addition to looking at his foreign travel for any dangerous or contacts of concern there.

COOPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks for that.

What played out the last three days was almost certainly a lot longer in the making. The suspect, his family had a contentious history with authorities.

[20:05:03] And those who knew him said the suspect, himself, changed over the years.

Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has been talking to people where he lived and where this morning he was shot and captured.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ahmad Khan Rahami and his brother Mohammad traveled to Pakistan in recently as 2013.

In this Facebook post, the brother talks about experiencing bombings in Quetta, an area with a strong Taliban presence. "Another bomb just went out. That seventh bomb last in less 24 hours. WTF", he writes. "We can't even get out of the house."

Another photo shows the suspected bomber relaxing in traditional clothing. He had a wife in Pakistan, according to law enforcement sources.

It is this trip and others to Afghanistan that investigators are now looking into.

COMMISSIONER JAMES O'NEILL, NYPD: As we go forward in this investigation, that's part of what we do. We're going to talk to family, talk to friends and see what the connections are. This is part of an investigation.

GRIFFIN: An acquaintance remembers Rahami's family telling him about the trip.

FLEE JONES, FAMILY FRIEND: I haven't seen him in a long time, so he was like, he's on vacation to Afghanistan. I was like, oh, all right.

GRIFFIN (on camera): But you got the expression it was extended vacation, like, he was there.

JONES: Yes, yes. Because of this, it kind of makes sense.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): A bar owner spotted Ahmed Rahami this morning around 9:00 a.m., sleeping in the doorway of his tavern. He recognized him from watching CNN and called police.

Two officers were wounded in the shootout as was Rahami. But he was awake and alert as he was wheeled into an ambulance.

Rahami was born in Afghanistan but is a U.S. citizen. His family came to the U.S. decades ago seeking asylum. They owned a fried chick restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and lived above it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a very friendly guy. You'd never suspect this. I'm terrified. He's hiding in plain sight. You would have never known.

GRIFFIN: Rahami's family claimed to be the victim of discrimination and harassment in this 2011 lawsuit against the city of Elizabeth and its police department. The suit says, "A neighbor told them Muslims don't belong here" and that that were threatened and harassed by police officers.

The mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey, said the suit was part of a longstanding feud between the family and the city over late hours and loud patrons at the restaurant.

MAYOR CHRISTIAN BOLWAGE, ELIZABETH, NJ: There was a lot of congregation going on, a lot of people hanging out. The city council was getting complaints from the neighborhood at which time they voted to close it at 10:00, which led to some clashes with the police department because the police weren't enforcing the city council ordinance.

GRIFFIN: Rahami attended Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, from 2010 to 2012, majoring in criminal justice. He did not graduate.

Friends from high school described him as a class clown. Really funny. Popular.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Drew joins us now from the location of the shootout.

You also spoke with someone who knew this guy in high school. What did they say?

GRIFFIN: You know, he said that he was a good friend in high school, very jovial kind of a guy. But two years after high school, he got a very strange phone call from this suspect. He said he was out of money, could he send him some money? He was stuck overseas.

We talked so some other people who knew Ahmad Rahami in later years and they said he had become very conservative, very quiet, and certainly not at all friendly like the rest of his family was that ran that restaurant -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Drew Griffin, thank you.

Also working sources, our justice correspondent Evan Perez who's learning more about what was in two Manhattan bombs and where investigators think suspect might have learned to make them. He's just gotten new information about some writings found near one of the bombs.

Let's start with that. What's the new information?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the bombs that didn't explode on 27th Street, Anderson, had a note with some handwritten -- it was a handwritten note and it basically made reference to previous terrorists including the Boston bombers. Now, investigators are looking at this and are now analyzing this to see, perhaps, if this might explain a motive for carrying out these attempted bombings.

COOPER: And it's interesting, you mentioned the Boston bombings. I understand the pressure cooker device was similar to the kinds used in the Boston bombings.

PEREZ: That's right. The device that did not explode and the one that did explode on 23rd were both pressure cooker bombs. They both had ball bearings, BBs, the type of thing that were used in the pressure cooker -- in the Boston bombings.

COOPER: And was there -- there was surveillance images of him going between, was there surveillance images from 27th Street?

PEREZ: There were surveillance images from 27th Street and 23rd Street. The ones on 27th Street were particularly good. They showed him wheeling this duffel bag. There was somebody who picked up the bag. He left it behind. Someone picked it up. Apparently thought perhaps to steal it and may have disturbed the bomb. That may be one reason why it did not go off.

These -- there were two people, actually, who saw the duffel bag. They picked it up. They removed what became the bomb and left it on the sidewalk. And, you know, it turns out that perhaps they might have been lucky. They could have been killed by handling it.

COOPER: So, the two people who opened the bag, they had nothing to do with the bomb, itself? [20:10:02] PEREZ: The investigators are still trying to figure out

who they are, trying to find them. They would love to talk to them. They do not at this point believe they had anything to do with them. It might have been homeless people, might have been someone who was simply trying to steal a bag.

COOPER: I remember after the Boston bombing, there was a lot of talk of could in that case, you know, the two brothers, or one of those brothers, in the Boston bombing case, have learned how to make a device like this just from the Internet without actually practicing it, without actually exploding it? I guess the same question is on this, could he have just picked -- I know on some of these terror websites and the like, or jihadist websites, that they have instructions on how to make it. Would you need to actually practice?

PEREZ: Exactly. Those are exactly the same questions that authorities are asking at this moment. Yes, there are recipes for this type of bomb. We know that included in the components were aluminum powder, ammonium nitrate, HTMD. The last one, HTMD, is one we haven't seen very much. The last one we can remember a prominent bombing was the 2005 London bombings.

More commonly see TATP, which is used in Paris attacks and other more recent attacks. So, the question is where did they learn to do this? Was where some training? Did they practice it?

You can find this on the Internet, but it's also something that you might have been trained, especially because we're talking about at least two different types of bombs. So, whoever -- however long he's been trying to make these, he did have some kind of expertise.

COOPER: But immediately right now, they believe he was acting alone but they are looking for any kind of wider network.

PEREZ: Absolutely. They don't believe right now that there's another bomb maker out there, but they do believe that there's somebody who might have provided some help, perhaps some training and that's where the focus is right now.

COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, thank you. We're going to check back in with Evan throughout the night for any late details or over the course of the next two hours.

Just ahead, we'll talk to the man who actually spotted the suspect, made that call that led to his capture. It's a "360" exclusive.

Our panel joins us as well as we learn more about how all of this unfolded.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:14] COOPER: Welcome back.

Tonight, more of that video we just obtained of the shootout that actually took down the alleged bomber. You cannot see much. However, the sound does speak for what was happening this morning on a city street not far from here.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

COOPER: Authorities said the man in custody now charged in connection with a pair of bombings, potentially many more, spent extended periods of time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban hotspot of Quetta. The question now, was he radicalized there in some way before returning here two years and then this weekend, allegedly setting off bombs that could have killed dozens?

He's in a hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

Our Brynn Gingras is there for us.

Brynn, first, I want to ask about the officers who were injured taking the suspect in custody, how are they doing? What do we know about their conditions?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we just got an update from the Linden Police Department.

And one of the officers doing so well that he's actually going to be released from the hospital tonight. That officer, Angel Padilla, 18- year veteran of the force, he encountered the suspect and according to police was shot at by the suspect. Those bullets hitting his bulletproof vest. Again, he's doing well and likely going to be released tonight.

A second officer who the shot at according to police by the suspects is a 23-year veteran of the force, Peter Hammer. We're told he is doing well, but he's going to be held overnight for observation. Police tell us the suspect fired at Hammer as he was sitting in his patrol vehicle. Those bullets ricocheting likely off of the windshield and hitting fragments of those bullets on his forehead and causing some grazing wounds. Again, doing well, though.

Both officers received calls from President Obama today, Anderson, thanking them for their service and bravery.

COOPER: Yes. Incredible bravery. As -- I mean, amazing job for all the police here in the tri-state area who have been working this case for the last three days. What do we know about the suspect's condition, the extent of his wounds?

GINGRAS: Well, at this point, we know that he did undergo surgery today. The hospital will not release his condition at this point. They only will confirm that he's being treated here and is still here at the hospital. What we know from the video that was remarkable, showed the suspect being loaded into the ambulance.

We know he had some bleeding on his arm and also on his leg and was alert and talking, or able to talk to officials even though we know he did not give information to officials. And authorities at this point are still waiting to talk to him, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Brynn Gingras, appreciate the update. Thank you. I want to bring in our panel, CNN national security analyst, Peter

Bergen, author of "The United States of Jihad", CNN counterterrorism analyst and former senior CIA and FBI official, Philip Mudd. And with me here, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, co-author of "Agent Storm: Why Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA."

You were saying the bomb-making ingredients, or what we know as some ingredients that Evan Perez was just reporting, that's a very critical piece of information.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Very significant new information from Evan -- aluminum powder, ammonium nitrate, HMTD likely is the primary detonator. This is a powerful bomb you are now talking about, a device according to explosive experts I've been speaking to today significantly more powerful than the Boston device we saw just --

COOPER: Really, wow.

CRUICKSHANK: -- a few years ago. This could have caused large-scale loss of life if this had fully detonated. Not clear whether it fully detonated or partially detonated at this point, but a very, very significant new information.

And on the HMTD, this is a tricky explosive to make. And that may point toward some kind of overseas training. Not impossible to download instructions off the Internet, but we've seen very, very few cases in which Islamist terrorists in the West have managed to pull that off to make HMTD without getting terror training overseas and, of course, the suspect had traveled extensively in Afghanistan and Pakistan, spent a lot of time there between 2013 and 2014, in areas in which terrorists group operate.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, I mean, you wrote the book most recently on so- called homegrown jihadists. How does this guy fit into that profile? Because I know you've studied the hundreds -- pretty much every case in the United States.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he fits very well into that profile. You know, the first fact is he's an American citizen, and for all the rhetoric we've heard during the political campaign about threats from refugees and immigrants and foreigners coming into this country, in fact, the homegrown threat is really the threat that we're talking about. Every single lethal terrorist attack in the United States has been conducted by an American citizen or legal permanent resident. Refugees are not really involved in these cases to any meaningful degree.

This guy was an American citizen from the New York area.

[20:20:02] He'd been here for two decades. I mean, if you were to accept the Donald Trump idea, you'd have to reverse history by two decades to get this -- to prevent this guy doing what he did and clearly that's not very doable.

And so, you know -- and also, you know, we're not talking about young hotheads. This guy was 28. The average age of these perpetrators is, in fact, 28. Often -- this guy had a couple years of community college. They're not uneducated. And in every respect, they're ordinary Americans.

And this is what makes it so hard for law enforcement, despite the fact there are a thousand investigations right now in all 50 states of potential Islamist militants. You know, by the law of averages, somebody's going to get through.

COOPER: Philip, what do you make of the tradecraft, so to speak, of this suspect? I mean, he's -- he goes to two kind of random locations in New York, 23rd Street and 27th Street. Multiple surveillance cameras on city streets. He -- whether he realized he would be seen or not, I mean, he's found sleeping in the doorway of a bar.

Does he seem like he's highly trained?

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, FBI AND CIA : He doesn't seem like it to me, Anderson. There's a couple pieces to look at. First, we're talking about his travel overseas. That is some time ago. The pace of radicalization in these cases, if he met someone overseas that taught him tradecraft is typically a lot faster than this.

But on the tradecraft in New York and New Jersey, think of a few things. Typically you're going to pick an iconic target. What is that in this case? I can't figure out why he's going after Chelsea. Secondarily, he's placing it not to maximize casualties but in a dumpster. Why do you do that?

So, you look at a couple of these characteristics, and you ask the question, if he's part of a broader web that trained him on a device or radicalized him, why did he end up being so inept when he actually placed device? I don't quite get this one yet, Anderson.

COOPER: Do you expect the suspect to talk? At least initially, he's not being cooperative.

MUDD: I would -- if I had to wager, there's a couple things that are going to happen here. The FBI is going to try to start building rapport with him. That takes time. You could introduce other aspects, for example, bringing his family in eventually to say, you got to talk.

And also, the lawyers are going to come in and say there's opportunities for you to talk and trade with federal officials on what your charges are going to be eventually. Right now, he's in shock. That whole emotional bubble he had while he was building this plot has been burst. So, in the next couple days, I think his emotional attitude might change and we might hear more out of him.

COOPER: Peter, it's really fascinating what you said earlier about -- it seems time and time again, we're seeing almost second-generation immigrants, people whose parents emigrated here, you know, often to escape a war-torn area, I guess in this case Afghanistan. People actually grew up, spent most of their lives here. We've seen that also with a number of Somalis who've gone back to Somalia. BERGEN: Well, just think of the most lethal terrorist attack in the

United States since 9/11 in June in Orlando, it was Omar Mateen. He was born in the New York City area. He's of Afghan descent, but he's as American as any other American citizen.

And this is the heart of the problem. You know, another interesting thing about the perpetrator in the most recent attacks, he wasn't known to law enforcement.

Now, typically, when you pull off one of these significant kind of attacks, usually, the FBI has -- you come across their radar. They might have interviewed you. They did so in the Boston case. In the Ft. Hood case, the FBI, at least some part of the FBI was very concerned about Major Nadal Hasan who carried out the attack that killed 13.

But what's interesting about this case, it reminds me of the San Bernardino case where the married couple killed 14 people in California in December. This guy was not known to law enforcement for any kind of militant views or actions. He was somebody who had sort of domestic dispute that was later dropped.

But this gets to the central problem, if you're not known to law enforcement, if you're being somewhat careful, as were -- the vector of his radicalization is not clear. Maybe it happened overseas. Maybe it happened here.

But the fact is, is that he was, you know, he came out of nowhere, and we're likely, unfortunately, to see more of this given the scale of the problem the FBI says it's confronting with a thousand cases that they're looking at.

COOPER: And, clearly, Paul, one of the things authorities are going to be looking at very, very closely, not only here in the United States but also overseas is exactly what was he doing in Afghanistan, what was he doing in Quetta of all places, which is -- I mean, if you're going to go to Pakistan, unless you have family in Quetta, it's not exactly the place an American citizen would go.

CRUICKSHANK: It's where the Afghan Taliban are based in Quetta. The United States, just the leader of the Taliban in May, the Taliban saying that wouldn't go unanswered. This is somebody that has traveled in these areas. No known connection at this point to any overseas terrorist group.

But this reminds me a lot of the case of Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square attempted bomber back in May 2010 who tried to blow up his car just a few blocks from here on that date. Somebody who wasn't on the radar screen of law enforcement agencies and also had that extensive travel pattern in Pakistan.

[20:25:06] He was directed to launch his attack by the Pakistani Taliban.

So, it's possible that there is some kind of overseas terrorism connection, because of that trouble pattern. If there is one, we're looking more at Taliban groups, al Qaeda, probably than ISIS, because they have a much less great presence over there.

COOPER: A lot still to learn. Paul Cruickshank, thank you. Philip Mudd as well, Peter Bergen.

Coming up, I'm going to speak to a man a lot of people are calling a hero tonight, the business owner who called police. He saw the suspect sleeping in the doorway of his bar, recognized him from watching CNN and called police. A good citizen. We'll talk to him in a moment.

Plus, what we know about the search of the suspect's last known address in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where his family owns that chicken restaurant. Jason Carroll is on the scene. We'll get an update from him, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just imagine you're watching CNN. You see pictures of a man wanted in connection with this weekend's bombing in New York and you see the same guy asleep in the doorway of your bar. That's exactly the kind of day Harinder Bains had. He called the police after recognizing the suspect from pictures on TV. He joins me now.

[20:30:02] Mr. Bains, thank you for being with us and what you did.

Take me through what happened, because you saw this guy sleeping in the doorway of your bar this morning. What happened next? Did you instantly recognize him?

HARINDER BAINS, BAR OWNER NEW JERSEY: No, about 9:00 in the morning I went in front of my bar and he was leaning towards the door, and the door was a little cracked, you know, the glass panel.

So, I just learned and told him, I said, hey, buddy, you're going to get hurt, this door is cracked. So he just looked toward the door crack and said oh, I'm sorry, I'll move to the other side. So he was on the left side. And he just removed his hoodie and just moved to the and moved to the right side of the building.

So, and I just left, because it was raining really hard so and I just ran back to my store because I have a store across the street from the bar. And that's the time when I saw his face, then removed his hoodie. It, like, kind of shocked me because I was watching CNN on my laptop and you guys have his picture on a site, like a PIP, you know, on a site.

COOPER: Right.

BAINS: So, I said this guy looked similar, like, very familiar, to the same -- like a same guy, you know? And then I got real busy in the store and then I was still wondering, like, does he -- is he the same guy? Is he the same guy? I'm just thinking.

And then my friend, he has a trucking repair shop, he came to my store. I said, his name is Vinny (ph), I said Vinny, did you saw that guy lounging around in the bar? He said yeah, I said look at this photo. I showed him the photo. I said, he looks exactly like this guy but only the mustache, but he looks like him. And I can recognize. Like, he's the same guy.

He said, are you sure? I said, yes. I said, then call the cops. So I was about to call 911 then he said, no I have the number for the Linden cops to -- we should call them. And that's when I called the cops, you know.

COOPER: And how quickly did the police arrive?

BAINS: Because I just -- I didn't tell them that he -- that the guy, that guy are looking for and he verified what I've said that, maybe may would have been there in a minute. But I just told them the guy looks little suspicious and, you know, you have to look it, if doesn't look good to me. So she said, what do you mean that doesn't look good to you, is he dead or alive. I said no, no he's alive but he doesn't look good. Like he's, like -- you have to send somebody to check it out, you know?

So, I think the cops came within 5 minutes and I was just waiting for the cops because by that point of time, I was, like escape offering to me again and again, this is the guy, this is the guy, you know?

COOPER: You were more sure than ever at that point.

BAINS: Yeah, yeah. I was, like, watching cross street from the bar and the first cop, close in, he just look at him. He's still sleeping and on his hoodie is pulled over his head. And then when the second cop pulled in and he just wake him up and lively he went to his left side to pull, I think, I'm sure, the gun. And I couldn't hear the conversation because I was across street in my store, on door way, you know.

And like a way he pulled a gun and he shot twice and, you know, the glass splinters almost hit my stores across street and that's when I also duck behind the coffee table in my store.

COOPER: So you saw -- you saw the suspect pull out -- pull out a gun.

BAINS: Yes. I did. He moved toward his left, he was, like, slouching, you know? So he moved toward his left and, like, tried to take out something. That's the point when cop took out the gun and he pointed toward him and it went so fast. It happened in, like, 15, 20 seconds everything ...

COOPER: How close were they to each other?

BAINS: They're close, like, maybe 6 feet, 5 feet. Not more than six feet. He was right there, like, a small vestibule. He was standing outside the vestibule and he was right there, you know?

COOPER: And do you have any idea how long this guy had been sleeping there? I know you only saw him around 9:00 a.m. had he been there much of the night?

BAINS: No, no, he was there -- he was there since 6:45. I opened the store. He was there. He was sitting in the bench outside when it wasn't raining at up 6:45. And I looked at him. I thought maybe some drunk guy. The hoodie was pulled over his face. And then when it started raining at on 8:00, I think 8:30, he went into that vestibule covered area, you know? I saw him at 6:45.

COOPER: That will be early as you saw him. And then when -- so they exchanged -- how many shots was between the first officer and the suspect?

BAINS: He shot twice, like, one of the shot hit the cop and the cop, like, ran back towards the brick wall of the building and he -- the guy got up and he started running towards Roselle Street and he started running between the parked cars. So, and the cop came behind the SUV and he started shooting, too, and I came out of the door and I started yelling at the cop. Ii said, where I knew the cop, too, you know, he came to my store for food and all.

[20:35:05] So I told him, this is the freaking guy you guys are looking for. I started yelling. And he looked at towards me and acknowledged me that what I'm saying then he tried to shoot but he don't have the clear vision. He can't see him clearly. You know? And he keeps running towards Roselle Street, and fighting in the air (ph), that -- he's not fighting back toward the cops anymore. He's like going forward and fighting and that's when couple of other cops started pulling in from the other side, you know.

COOPER: So when the initial officer came on the scene, it was just one police officer in a car?

BAINS: Two.

COOPER: Two police officers.

BAINS: One officer came first. He didn't talk -- he was just looking at him. And I'm -- I suppose he was waiting for the other cops to come in, you know. When the second cop came, he confronted the suspect.

COOPER: And how long would you say this entire exchange from the time the first police officer approached to the time he was actually apprehended? How long do you think it was?

BAINS: I mean, the second cop came one minute after the first cop and after that, it only took the whole thing took maybe 30 seconds or less than 30 seconds because once he went towards the door, everything happened so fast because he -- right away he went to his gun and he started shooting. He shot two shots and both the shots went through the glass panel. The holes are still there. You can see, you know?

COOPER: Were you ever frightened for your safety? I mean -- right seeing this guy who was being, you know, who was wanted by police?

BAINS: I didn't knew -- in first when I went there, I didn't know he was the guy but only when I saw his face that things started, like, I had a suspicion that this might be the same guy, you know? Yes, I was, like, shaking a little bit. You know, and just the cop pulled out his gun, at that point in time, I realized, that OK, this is the guy, I'm sure this is the guy, you know?

COOPER: There's a lot of folks who are calling you a hero today. Do you feel like a hero?

BAINS: No. I'm not a hero. I'm just a regular citizen doing what every citizen should do. Call -- whatever you see, you call the cop. Cops are the real hero, law enforcement are the real hero, you know?

COOPER: There's a lot of people though who, you know, have suspicions but don't actually pick up the phone and dial the police when they have a suspicion. You did that.

BAINS: Yes. I think everybody should do that. When you see something, you should say something, you know?

COOPER: Well, Harinder Bains, it's really a pleasure and honor to talk to you. Thank you so much for what you did. You very possibly saved a lot of people's lives. Thank you.

BAINS: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: Harinder Bains.

Coming up with an election just 50 days away, the first presidential debate a week from tonight, the political show continues. What Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are saying about the attack next.

And more details from what we know about this suspect and the investigation that's going on.

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[20:41:55] COOPER: President Obama is praising the law enforcement officers for their quick capture of the New York and New Jersey bombing suspect. Speaking in New York, the president said we all have a role as citizens not to succumb to the kind of fear that terrorists are trying to instill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I want to take this opportunity to reassure the people in this city, this region, and Americans across our country that our counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals at every level, federal, state and local, are working together around the clock to prevent attacks and to keep us safe.

They are the best of the best. Over the years, they have thwarted many plots and saved many lives, and we are incredibly grateful for their service today and every single day.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Of course, the presidential election is just 50 days away now. The way Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are talking about these events is under the microscope. Trump has been writing things on Twitter, as usual, including claiming that Clinton's, quote, "Weakness as secretary of state emboldened terrorists all over the world."

This is what he said at a rally today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been Islamic terrorist attacks in Minnesota and New York City and in New Jersey. These attacks and many others were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system which fails to properly vet and screen the individuals or families coming into our country. Got to be careful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Secretary Clinton's response has been more measured, I guess you'd say. Here's some of what she said in White Plains, New York, today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are millions and millions of naturalized citizens in America from all over the world. There are millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslim-Americans. This is the kind of challenge that law enforcement can be and is prepared to address, namely going after anyone who would threaten the United States.

Let's not get diverted and distracted by the kind of campaign rhetoric we hear coming from the other side. This is a serious challenge. We are well equipped to meet it. And we can do so in keeping with smart law enforcement, good intelligence, and in concert with our values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right joining me now is CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash. CNN political analyst, journalist and author, Carl Bernstein. Carl, what do you make of this? I mean almost immediately after the incident in New York happened the candidates started positioning themselves on the issue.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Donald Trump has thought from the beginning that he can exploit all terrorist incidents into something that works in his favor, and the Clinton campaign has been very worried about his ability to do just that.

So it's sought to undermine his exploitation. The sound bite that we just heard, if all Trump had said was, we have to be careful, that would be one thing. He's been much more incendiary than that. He's called for on outright ban of Muslims entering the country.

[20:45:00] So he's using the rhetoric to further enflame this electoral cycle and Clinton is trying to say, hey, look, there is a smart way to fight terrorism, it requires nuance, it requires knowledge, and we can't just go about this by suspending civil liberties and screaming that the house is on fire.

COOPER: Dana, our latest CNN national poll shows that in terms of who would better handle terrorism, or who could better handle terrorism, Trump leads Clinton by 6 points and when it comes to question of who could better handle being commander in chief, Clinton leads Trump by 5 points. So it's not really clear cut who politically is, in the minds of voters, able to handle something like this the best.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Those numbers are so fascinating and really I think crystalize of what each candidate is trying to put forward during times like these for the voters. The commander in chief question, that's where Hillary Clinton does better among voters which is why you saw her go out and have a very calm, very steady, very let's deal with the facts and only the facts kind of approach to this because she's appealing to voters who want that, who want somebody who they feel comfortable with who's not going to, you know, go by their gut or go by their emotion.

But Donald Trump is appealing to voters who very much want the opposite, as Carl was just talking about. And that's what speaks to the fact that he is doing better among those who want a commander in chief or somebody who's going to fight terrorism, because he is going with that kind of visceral feeling of we got to get these guys and it doesn't matter what the costs are, whether it is racial profiling or civil liberties, or immigration policies.

And those are two very, very different characteristics and it really does speak to where the voters are going to go. Are they going to go with their gut or are they going to go with their head?

COOPER: Well, because, I mean, to that point, Carl, it's interesting because what Donald Trump is talking about is, you know, refugees, tougher screening of people coming to the U.S., this was a family that came to the U.S., you know, I think more than 20 years ago, if this guy's 28, was here when he was 6 years old, it's been 22 years.

BASH: Right.

COOPER: No amount of, you know, screening of the parents from back then could predict what a person's going to do 22 years later.

BERNSTEIN: We need smart screening. A war on terror is the most difficult, strategic, in terms of strategic decisions, war perhaps that we have ever fought. And so it requires all kinds of nuance. What Trump is doing, and certainly you can get people even around him to acknowledge this, is to incite a certain feeling against Muslims. That is the purpose of some of this rhetoric.

And we have to look at it in the larger context of how he's run his campaign in terms of immigration, in terms of nativism, bigotry, et cetera, and this goes to the heart of what this election is and what kind of country we are and we're going to be. It's two very different visions. And it's pretty much out there for all people to see at this point what this election is and what's at stake.

COOPER: Dana, how concerned do you think the Clinton campaign is right now with the last several weeks that Hillary Clinton has had and this tightening of poll numbers?

BASH: They are, and they should be. They are tightening, rightly, and when things like this happen, historically, for the reasons that Carl just stated, it has been beneficial to Donald Trump even though Hillary Clinton is trying to use these kinds of incidents as proof that, you know, in her words, from her perspective, you don't need somebody who doesn't have the temperament to be president at this time.

But, yeah, it's been a very, very tough few weeks for her, and the only -- the main thing that they are relying on at this late stage of the game is the get-out-the-vote operation.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: In the fact they have the people on the ground in these swing states to get people out and that they, because she's a Democrat, they have a more clear path electorally to win.

COOPER: Yeah. Dana Bash, Carl Bernstein, thank you very much.

Up next, the increased security here in New York, even with the suspect in custody, you can hear by all the sirens in midtown this evening, it's a city still very much on alert. A lot of new information tonight. Stay with us.

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[20:53:12] COOPER: Again, our breaking news tonight, the suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings is in custody after a shoot-out with police in Linden, New Jersey. He's now facing attempted murder charges. The NYPD commissioner welcoming the news, but reminding people to keep their guard up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES O'NEIL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: We always have to be in a state of alert in New York City. We are the number one target in the world. But as far as this investigation and working again with the FBI, I think, you know, I'm a lot -- I'm a lot happier today than I was yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins us now from where the Chelsea bomb exploded. Out on the streets today, there's certainly, you know, an increased police presence. I understand national guard troops are deployed, as well.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's exactly right. As a matter of fact, a thousand National Guard and New York State police officers were sent here. They're guarding the airports, as well as the train stations and subway stations. You've also got an increased police presence. You know, it's always heightened at this time of year because of the United Nations General Assembly.

But now there is a different feeling to it, because it's not just the heads of state, the prime ministers, the presidents that are sort of the target of this. Now, you've got an individual like this suspect, who's aiming at regular New Yorkers. You've got a lot of New Yorkers now who are being very vigilant, as well.

But definitely a heightened state of alert. And, you know, we can tell you that everyone's sort of keeping their eyes and their ears open to anything suspicious. As matter of fact, we've seen a couple of people approach police officers, identifying somebody who doesn't look like they belong. Identifying a package, where it shouldn't be. So we've witnessed that ourselves. People are very aware, Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, a lot of people in New York received message this morning, connection with the search about the suspect.

FEYERICK: Yeah, absolutely. As a matter of fact, it came through on our cell phones, like this on an emergency response system, that usually identifies people when there's an amber alert or some sort of a storm coming. This one on my device came in at 7:54 wanted gives the name of the suspect, 28-year-old male, see media for picture, call 911 if seen.

[20:55:07] This is one of the first times this particular system has ever been used to alert the public that they've got a guy that they really want to get. And so that was the first that came in. But we also saw authorities using Twitter and Facebook and pushing out this image of the suspect to television stations across the country, because they were very concerned that now that he was aware that he might have been identified, that he was going to go on the run. So they really wanted to stop it as soon as possible.

And you know, plus, you've also got this very sophisticated video surveillance system throughout New York City, about 3,000 cameras. And that's how police were able to identify. They had detectives pouring over all that video to try to connect somebody on 23rd Street with somebody on 27th Street, as well. There are a lot of cameras here. We've seen some. One of producers just got a piece of video showing the suspect rolling two bags up this street, about the time of the blast. But the FBI director says he doesn't -- the chief here in New York says he doesn't believe that there is a cell operating here. They still want to know why he did that, and perhaps, if somebody at least helped. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Deb Feyerick, thanks for the reporting.

Our breaking news continues in the next hour of "360." New information from the suspect in custody. The details of a handwritten note authorities say he left before the explosives.

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