Trending: ‘Ultima Thule’ no more: New Horizons’ space snowman is named Arrokoth
(Via Twitter)
(Via Twitter)

An emergency system intended to alert people, via cellphone, about weather advisories or abducted children was used for the first time in New York City to aid in the manhunt for a criminal suspect.

The “electronic wanted poster,” as The New York Times called it Monday, sought the public’s help in tracking down Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old suspect in bombings that took place in Manhattan and New Jersey.

The message from the nation’s Wireless Emergency Alerts system, is targeted to a cellphone’s location and was probably received by millions of people nearly at once, the Times said. It read: “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.”

Rahami, suspected in a bombing in the Chelsea neighborhood that injured 29 people on Saturday, was taken into custody Monday after a gunfight with police in Linden, N.J.

The alert system is generally used for three types of alerts: to warn people about storms and other threats to public safety; to broadcast Amber Alerts for abducted children; and for messages from the president.

A spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Times that Monday’s alert was “a first” for such a purpose.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.