Akayed Ullah: What we know about the NYC explosion suspect
Phillip Noel, who lives near the bombing suspect's Brooklyn home talks about the area, Monday, December 11, 2017.
NEW YORK — A 27-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., resident is being held after he allegedly detonated a device in a bustling subway passage beneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.
What we know now about the suspect:
Where's he from?
Akayed Ullah is from Bangladesh and appears to have lived in Brooklyn after emigrating in 2011 from there on a family immigrant visa, which is available to immigrants with a brother or sister who are American citizens. He is a lawful permanent resident, said Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.
After the attack, New York City police blocked off the Brooklyn street where Ullah has been living.
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Ullah's mother has been detained for questioning, and federal agents detained Ullah's brother, who was at Coney Island, officers in Brooklyn said.
“Nothing like this has ever happened here,” said Diane Clark, a secretary at Brooklyn Realty. “To come in this morning and find out this is happening right around the corner from where you work is a little mind blowing.”
Phillip Noel was shocked got to learn Ullah lives within a block of his grandmother’s house.
Noel said the area is very quiet and hasn’t seen such police commotion since a liquor store robbery closed off the block about six years ago.
"You don’t expect this to be cultivated in your own backyard, in your own neighborhood, literally my backyard," said Noel, who has lived off and on in the neighborhood in recent years.
“I just want everyone to feel safe around here,” he said. “This is not something that is going to calm the nervousness of people. It’s going to heighten it, make people look over their shoulder.”
Where is he being held?
Ullah is in custody at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan where he is in serious condition, police said. Police Commissioner James O'Neill described Ullah's injuries as burns and lacerations to the hands, face and abdomen.
Was this an attempted suicide bombing?
Authorities did characterize the event as an attempted suicide bombing. Ullah detonated an explosive device around 7:20 a.m. ET that was affixed to his body, police said.
MTA surveillance footage captured the incident, which O'Neill said "was intentionally detonated."
Ullah acted alone, police said.
What motivated the attack?
Ullah told investigators that he specifically timed the assault to coincide with the Christmas season for the greatest possible effect, said a law-enforcement official who is not authorized to comment publicly while the investigation is ongoing.
He expected to die in the attack and believed that others would perish with him, the official said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria inspired Ullah. But he apparently had no direct contact with the terrorist group.
Did Ullah have a criminal history?
He does not have an arrest record, CBS News reported.
What did he do for a living?
He had a vehicle-for-hire license from New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission from March 2012 to March 2015 but did not renew it when it expired, according to Allan Fromberg, deputy commissioner and commission spokesman. At that time, the license restricted him to driving a black car or limousine, not a yellow cab.
"I have no way of knowing whether he drove for any particular base, or whether he simply got the license but didn’t drive at all," Fromberg said.
Did he have ties to other Bangladeshi communities?
"This is an isolated incident," said Shahin Khalique, a Bengali immigrant elected to the Paterson, N.J., City Council in 2016. "We are law-abiding citizens. There isn't any connection to anybody in Paterson. I don't think there will be any backlash."
During the past two decades, Paterson has drawn thousands of Bengladeschi immigrants. Students from Bengali families often are among the top academic achievers in the school district.
"I pray for the families of the people affected," Khalique said.
Before Khalique's victory, another Bengali immigrant, Mohammed Akhtaruzzman, held the city's 2nd Ward City Council seat.
The suspect may be an "extremist," Akhtaruzzaman said.
"He must be crazy or something," the former councilman said. "You have to be out of your mind to do something like this."
Contributing Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY; The Associated Press. Follow The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record on Twitter: @northjersey