Bombing suspect captured alive
WATERTOWN, Mass. – A 19-year-old Massachusetts college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombing was captured hiding out in a boat parked in a backyard Friday and his older brother lay dead in a furious 24-hour drama that transfixed the nation and paralyzed the Boston area with fear.
The bloody endgame came four days after the bombing and just a day after the FBI released surveillance-camera images of two young men suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives that ripped through the crowd at the marathon finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 180.
The two men were identified by authorities and relatives as ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade and were believed to be living in Cambridge, Mass. But investigators gave no details on the motive for the bombing.
Early Friday morning, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a ferocious gun battle and car chase during which he and his younger brother hurled explosives at police from a stolen car, authorities said. The younger brother managed to escape.
During the getaway attempt, the brothers killed an MIT policeman and severely wounded another officer, authorities said.
After a tense, all-day manhunt and house-to-house search by thousands of SWAT team officers with rifles and armored vehicles, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was cornered in a homeowner’s yard, where he exchanged gunfire with police while holed up in a boat, authorities said.
He was taken away on a stretcher and was hospitalized in serious condition with unspecified injuries, police said.
Just before 9 p.m., Boston police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody. They later wrote: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
A cheer went up from a crowd of bystanders in Watertown.
“Everyone wants him alive,” said Kathleen Paolillo, a teacher.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted “We got him,” along with a photo of himself talking to the police commissioner.
Police said three other people were taken into custody for questioning at an off-campus housing complex at the University of the Massachusetts at Dartmouth where the younger man may have lived.
Up until the younger man’s capture, it was looking like a grim day for police. As night fell, they announced that they were scaling back the hunt and lifting the stay-indoors order across Boston and some of its suburbs because they had come up empty-handed.
But then a break came in a Watertown neighborhood when a homeowner saw blood on his boat, pulled back the tarp and saw the bloody suspect inside, police said.
Chechnya has been the scene of two wars between Russian forces and separatists since 1994, in which tens of thousands were killed in heavy Russian bombing. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although not in the West.
The older brother had strong political views about the United States, said Albrecht Ammon, 18, a downstairs-apartment neighbor in Cambridge. Ammon quoted Tsarnaev as saying that the U.S. uses the Bible as “an excuse for invading other countries.”