News Column

Boston Cheers as Suspect is Captured

April 20, 2013

Anne K Walters, dpa

Boston Cheers

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was in police custody as investigators continued to look for answers after a tense, day-long manhunt that locked down a major US city and captivated the nation.

"The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody," Boston police announced on their Twitter feed late Friday.

Cheers and hoots of relief broke out among residents in the Boston suburb of Watertown who had been penned in their homes all day long, staying out of harm's way. Police cars blared their sirens in jubilation as they departed.

A resident discovered suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, in a boat in his backyard after police had lifted a warning for residents to stay inside, officials said at a press conference. Tsarnaev's brother, a fellow suspect in Monday's deadly terrorist attack, was killed in a shootout with police earlier Friday.

The resident had left his house after staying inside all day and "saw blood on a boat in the backyard," said Boston police commissioner Ed Davis. "He opened the tarp and saw a man covered in blood."

The police responded to the scene, where they exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who had likely been wounded in the earlier showdown with police. He was later taken into custody.

Tsarnaev was in "serious condition" in hospital, Davis said.

Police had not read Tsarnaev his legal rights, which allow suspects to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination, under an exception to the law for national security purposes, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said.

The boat had not been examined by police earlier in the day because it lay just outside the wide police perimeter they had spent hours searching, Davis said.

"He managed to elude us by being just slightly outside the perimeter we set up," Davis said.

Another police official however said the suspect likely "didn't go straight to the boat."

US President Barack Obama praised the work of law enforcement and pledged investigators would work to find answers to the attack.

"We've closed an important chapter in this tragedy," Obama said from the White House, just over an hour after the police announcement.

Those killed and wounded in Monday's attack "deserve answers," Obama said, stressing that the investigation continues. He urged Americans not to jump to conclusions about the motives of the suspects.

Tsarnaev had been considered armed and dangerous. He was identified as the man in the white baseball cap in surveillance video and photos from Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, where three people were killed and dozens were maimed with amputations. All told, 176 were wounded.

His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, identified as the man in a black cap in the video images, died at a Boston hospital after a firefight early Friday in Watertown. Doctors said he suffered both gunshots and blast wounds.

Some 200 shots were fired and explosives thrown during that showdown between police, officials said.

The shootout occurred hours after the suspects' photos were released by the FBI, forcing the brothers "to take actions or decisions that ultimately revealed who they were," Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben said at a press conference.

US President Barack Obama was briefed throughout the day and had gathered with his national security team to follow the manhunt from the White House situation room, a senior aide said.

Relatives of the men identified them as ethnic Chechens, who had lived in the United States for about 10 years. US media reported the younger brother was a naturalized US citizen.

"Turn yourself in!" Ruslan Tsarni told his nephew in comments broadcast on television. "Ask for forgiveness from the victim and the injured."

"He put shame on the Tsarni family, on the entire Chechen ethnicity," Tsarni said outside his home in Montgomery Village, Maryland, outside Washington.

"I'm ready to kneel in front of [the families and the injured], seeking their forgiveness on behalf of my family," he said.

The series of events that ultimately brought the saga to a close began when a police officer was fatally shot Thursday night on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge. Sean Collier, 26, was shot several times and died later at a nearby hospital.

Police said the brothers then carjacked a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that they drove to Watertown, where the firefight broke out. The younger suspect escaped on foot, prompting police to lock down the suburb while they searched the area.

One police officer was seriously wounded in the initial gunfight with the suspects.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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