Authorities hunting for the suspect in the botched Times Square bombing dramatically beat the clock overnight, seizing a Pakistani-American citizen moments before he began a long trip to his strife-torn homeland.
Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested around 11:45 p.m. ET Monday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Attorney General Eric Holder.
Shahzad will appear sometime after 2 p.m. ET Tuesday in federal court, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said.
The suspect is set to go before Magistrate Judge Kevin Fox. Charges will be read against the defendant, and the judge will determine if a bail will be set.
Shahzad was on board Emirates Airlines Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the jetway had been pulled back when the plane was called to return to the gate, a law enforcement source said. Shahzad was booked through to Islamabad, Pakistan, via Dubai, a senior airline official confirmed.
“They just caught him at the last second,” a law enforcement source said.
Security officials removed three passengers from the flight late Monday, including Shahzad — who was taken into custody, the senior airline official said.
Authorities searched the plane, luggage and checked all passengers again before the flight took off early Tuesday for Dubai minus the other two passengers who were removed with Shahzad, the airline official said.
Those two passengers have now been cleared and released, a federal law enforcement source said later Tuesday.
The source said the two “had nothing to do with this” but had been taken off the plane in an abundance of caution “in the rush of the moment.”
Cell phone calls helped lead police to the suspect in the failed bombing attempt, authorities said Tuesday.
Police have been engaged in a furious manhunt in the New York area for those responsible for an intended terrorist attack Saturday night in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square.