It was just another day of work for one New Jersey bar owner — until he encountered the most wanted man in the tri-state sleeping outside his tavern.
As a massive manhunt was underway for New York City bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami, business owner Harry Bains noticed a man sleeping in the doorway of his Linden bar, Merdie’s Tavern.
Bains said the man had been asleep there for hours Monday morning and thought that he may have been a drunk who passed out. He said the man looked “tired and exhausted” as rain poured down around him.
The news of a terror suspect on the loose had been on in Merdie’s Tavern all morning. He said he had a gut feeling about the sleeping man, as the story ran over and over on television and Rahami’s image replayed in his mind.
“I was watching the news since this morning and I said, 'This guy looks so like this guy.' And I kept looping the same story three or four times,” Bains said.
Bains finally decided to follow his instincts about the man. He said he made a call to Linden police.
When officers arrived, things escalated quickly.
The officers woke Rahami. When he lifted his head they recognized him as the man in the FBI wanted poster released just hours earlier. They told him to show his hands and he pulled out a gun and fired, hitting one of them, according to police.
Rahami then allegedly walked down the street firing at random passing vehicles. Eventually police were able to take him down. He was hauled away in an ambulance, wounded by police bullets, but still alive.
Bains was nearly hit by bullets during the gunfight, but he says in the end he’s glad he followed that uneasy feeling he had.
“I'm just happy that I did it and it came to be that guy, you know?” Bains said.
But the totality of the whole situation was still settling in for Bains later on Monday.
“Why in the world? Of all the places in front of my bar? The guy is lodging in front of my bar.”