News

Alumni reflect on bombing

Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghani native and American citizen, has been charged with attempted murder for the bomb that detonated on September 17, 2016, in Chelsea, a Manhattan, New York, neighborhood.

The bomb injured 29 people, damaged property and caused evacuation from surrounding buildings.

The explosion occurred from inside a construction dumpster outside of a local inn in the neighborhood. A second explosive device, a pressure cooker rigged with wires, was found hours later and disposed of appropriately.

Since then, New York Police have successfully arrested a suspect in connection with the bombings.

According to the New York Times, it is believed Rahami did not act alone. Police are investigating for more suspects at this time.   

Submitted by Haley Maguire Maguire graduated from the University in the spring of 2016 and moved to New York. She was in the city during a recent bomb attack.
Submitted by Haley Maguire
Maguire graduated from the University in the spring of 2016 and moved to New York. She was in the city during a recent bomb attack.

Haley Maguire, a 2016 John Brown University alumna, was in New York at the time, less than 10 minutes away from the location of the explosion. Maguire said she was spending a relaxing evening in Madison Square Park, eating dinner and talking on the phone to her friend Sarah White, another university alumna. She suddenly heard a “loud boom” and felt a strong pulse shoot through the ground. 

Both Maguire and White were startled by the noise, and Maguire searched her surroundings for any sign of its cause. The people around her seemed unperturbed by anything, so for a few minutes, Maguire thought everything seemed Ok.

After a few minutes, White heard a significant increase of sirens in the background through the phone.

“I started to get nervous and I remember I really wanted Haley to get inside,” White said. “I just pictured her alone in the street and I didn’t like the idea of her being vulnerable.”

Unsure of what the noise was, Maguire “did what any good millennial would do” and began checking Twitter and other social media and news sites to discover the source of the noise.

In Memphis, Tennessee, White searched in the internet for any information, and found nothing. Slowly, notices were posted by the New York Police Department and the fire department online.    

As police cars, fire trucks and ambulances rushed past in the direction of the explosion, Maguire made her way back to her apartment, figuring it best to walk in the opposite direction and away from the chaos.

Maguire and White talked on the phone until White knew Maguire was safe in her apartment.

Maguire said that New York life continues as usual without the tenseness associated with a disaster. She said she convered with a woman the day after the incident about the privileges Americans possess because they do not eal with explosive attacks every day. She is not afraid to venture out into the city.

“It’s one of the risks of living in a large city this day and age,” Maguire said.