NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The mother of an alleged “lone wolf” terrorist accused of trying to build pipe bombs to destroy police cars, post office vehicles and other targets around Manhattan is apologizing to the city.
“I want to apologize to the city,” Carmen Sosa told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne. “I love New York and I’ve been here since 1987. I’m very disappointed by what my son is doing.
Sosa said she saw a change in her son, 27-year-old Jose Pimentel, a few years ago when he separated from his ex-wife. He began reading the Koran, learning Arabic and started a website dedicated to discussing the religion of Islam.
Sosa knew in her gut that something was wrong but when she confronted her son he said “it’s not your business.”
“This is a tragedy and we need the time to cope with this,” the suspect’s cousin, Giselle Rodriguez told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey. “We’re in pieces, you know? We’re in pieces. It’s like you don’t know who you live with.”
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Pimentel was born on November 8, 1984 in the Dominican Republic. He came to New York City when he was 5 years old. As he grew older, he was described as being somewhat aimless, though he studied business, CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reported.
“I think he did odd jobs, but also he lived with family members. Sort of, eked his way through,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
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In 2004, Pimentel moved to Schenectady and converted to Islam that same year. In December 2005, he was arrested for buying computer with stolen credit card information he got while working at an Albany Circuit City. Around that time, he also got married and had a child.
Prosecutors say Pimentel, an American citizen, became a radicalized jihadist, taking his inspiration from slain cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden. Investigators said Pimentel went by the name Muhammad Yusuf. He was arrested Saturday after he was putting the finishing touches on a third bomb, officials said.
Sosa said she didn’t see her son allegedly making the bombs inside their apartment on West 137th Street in Harlem because she works seven days a week at a non-profit mental health group.
Sosa said her son is not a killer.
‘It’s not like that,” she said. “My son is not like that.”
Luis Severino told CBS 2 he knows little about his nephew even though they both lived under the same roof.
“When I would come home from work he would be sleeping during the day. Then when I would come home at night he would be out or I don’t know where,” Severino said. “He didn’t have problems; he only liked the religion of the Muslim.”
People who live in the building are disturbed by the allegations.
“This building is very quiet,” Luciana Xavier said. “You don’t hear anything strange. You don’t see anything strange.”
Sosa said her son was going to change his name to Osama Hussein to celebrate his heroes Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
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