Brooklynites Describe Bombing Suspect as ‘Shy’ and ‘Quiet’ |

Brooklynites Describe Bombing Suspect as ‘Shy’ and ‘Quiet’

Cops swarmed a Kensington building on Ocean Parkway between Webster and Newkirk Aves. amid their investigation into Brooklyn resident Akayed Ullah, who police accused of igniting an explosive device in Manhattan on Dec. 11. Photo by Colin Mixson via Community News Group.

BY COLIN MIXSON | Cops busted a Brooklyn man suspected of nearly blowing himself up in a botched subway bombing on Mon., Dec. 11 that injured three straphangers and shocked residents who never considered their neighbor could be an alleged terrorist.

A Flatlands local described 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant Akayed Ullah, who once resided in the neighborhood at E. 48th St. between avenues M and N, as a “shy and quiet” man whose inconspicuousness may have been a warning sign of his behavior to come.

“It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for,” said Alan Butrico, who owns the house next door to the one Ullah lived at as well as a hardware store at E. 48th St. and Avenue N.

Authorities apprehended Ullah after a “low-tech” improvised-explosive device strapped to his body ignited at 7:20 a.m. inside an underground passage linking two busy Manhattan subway stations.

The suspect lived with his parents and brother at the Flatlands home, according to Butrico, who said he never saw police at the house next to his — until Monday, when dozens of investigators swarmed the block, which they cordoned off for hours after the explosion. But Ullah’s family members claimed he moved out of the Flatlands house some time ago.

“We would like to note that it has been widely misreported that Akayed Ullah resides at an address on East 48th Street, Brooklyn, NY, but this is incorrect, and he has not resided there for many years,” read a statement issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations on behalf of the family. On Mon. night, speakng to the media, Albert Fox Cahn, legal director for CAIR-NY, read from that statement, noting the family is “heartbroken by the violence that was targeted at our city today and by the allegations being made against a member of our family.” But they were also “outraged by the behavior of the law enforcement officials who have held children as small as four years old out in the cold and who pulled a teenager out of high school classes to interrogate him without a lawyer, without his parents.”

Butrico said that his tenant who lives in the house next door to Ullah’s former residence recently complained of loud arguments coming from inside the home, including a shouting match that occurred the night before the alleged terrorist’s assault. There was nothing outwardly remarkable about the Bangladeshi man, according to Butrico, who said his only interaction with Ullah’s family was when they parked their car in front of his driveway.

Alleged bomber Akayed Ullah once lived with his family in a Flatlands home on E. 48th St. between avenues N and M (green-trimmed roof in this photo), but moved out years ago, according to a statement his relatives released via their lawyer following the incident. Photo by Colin Mixson via Community News Group.

“They didn’t care,” he said. “They felt like they owned the block.” Investigators also stormed a Kensington building following Ullah’s bungled assault, alarming locals who said they never thought they could have neighbors tied to terror. “I’m really scared,” said David Scoffe, who lives a few blocks away from the crime scene 679 Ocean Pkwy. “You don’t know who your neighbors are.”

Ullah caused more damage to himself in his bungled attack than he did to his intended targets, according to FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro, who said police found the alleged terrorist with burns and lacerations to his abdomen and hands. His victims, however, suffered minor injuries in the form of ringing ears and headaches, and all three checked themselves into hospitals, Nigro said.

Both New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Governor Andrew Cuomo described the detonation as intentional, but a New York Times report citing unnamed sources stated the device malfunctioned, and that the explosion failed to produce the shrapnel necessary to effect greater carnage.