Teen Terror Suspect Wounded, Captured, in Serious Condition

Friday, 19 Apr 2013 11:27 PM

By Todd Beamon and Bill Hoffmann

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Image: Teen Terror Suspect Wounded, Captured, in Serious Condition
Police officers celebrate after capturing bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The sought-after suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested Friday night — taken from a boat parked on a trailer behind a house in the suburban town of Watertown, police said.

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody without incident about 8:45 p.m., said Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben.

“We have a suspect in custody,” Alben said at a 9:30 p.m. news conference. “We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory tonight.”

Tsarnaev, a Chechen native who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was covered with blood when he was arrested, Alben said.

The teen was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Hospital officials declined to give Tsarnaev’s condition, but The Boston Globe reported that he was in “extremely serious” condition.

He reportedly suffered at least one gunshot wound.

“Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area,” Boston Police said on Twitter at 8:45 p.m.

“We Got Him,” tweeted Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the teenage suspect told ABC News, “Thank God,” when informed his son was taken alive.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick praised law enforcement for “bringing their A-game” to the investigation, adding, “It’s a night where we all are going to sleep easy.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers called the effort “a truly intense investigation. As a result, justice is being served for those affected by these serious crimes.”

In Washington, President Barack Obama also praised investigators and the many Boston residents who helped on various levels. “Because of their determined efforts, we have closed a significant chapter in this tragedy,” he said.

Tsarnaev’s arrest came after the teen had been surrounded by police for more than an hour — and cheers erupted from residents as police and other law-enforcement professionals left the area.

The authorities were tipped by a local resident who spotted blood on the side of the boat in his backyard about 7 p.m., Watertown Police Chief Edward DeVeau said.

“The community stood strong,” he said. “We got the call and we got the guy.”

Police used “flash bang” stun grenades to disorient and distract him — and Tsarnaev was apprehended after negotiations failed with an FBI Hostage Rescue Team, which arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m.

“They tried to talk him out, but he was not communicating,” DeVeau said. “The citizens of Boston and of this community can be confident that the threat no longer exists.”

In 2011, FBI officials questioned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a frantic Thursday night shootout with police, after a request from an unidentified foreign government.

The FBI did not produce any “derogatory” information on Tamerlan — and agents then put the matter “to bed,” Reuters reports.

Authorities in New Bedford, Mass., said they helped federal investigators execute a search warrant on Friday at a home in the city, located about 10 minutes from the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student.

New Bedford Police Lt. Robert Richard told the Globe that FBI took two men and a woman into custody.

“They appeared to be either fellow college students or fellow residents,” he said.

But at Tsarnaev’s arrest on Friday night, ecstatic Watertown residents, who had spent most of the day inside, spilled into the streets when they heard that the teen had been taken into custody, the Globe reports.

They cheered and applauded starting about 8:45 p.m. as police and federal vehicles, including an SUV owned by a federal diplomatic security officer, began leaving the site, the Globe reports.

People whooped as the Watertown EMS ambulance left the scene carrying the injured teen.

The parade of vehicles — and the cheers and clapping — continued for at least an hour. Many of the vehicles carried license plates from other U.S. states, as law enforcement converged on Boston to offer their assistance, the Globe reports.

Tsarnaev’s arrest capped a tumultuous 24 hours that included the frenzied shootout that killed his brother, the fatal shooting of an M.I.T. police officer, the serious wounding of a Boston public transit officer, and a virtual lockdown of the Boston region as authorities swept the area the surviving suspect.

The final developments began within moments after Patrick, the governor, said that mass-transit service would resume in Boston and the lockdown order for residents has been lifted.

Authorities said at the news conference that Tsarnaev had eluded a dragnet by abandoning a car and escaping on foot.

Less than an hour after the session, CNN and Fox news reporters said about 20 to 30 shots rang out.

Residents told the Globe of pandemonium outside their doors in the moments leading to Tsarnaev’s arrest.

“There’s a lot of shooting,” Lisa Bontempi told the Globe. “I’m really scared. I’ve got to go.”

DeVeau, the Watertown police chief, said the police tip came from a local resident who came outside, saw blood near the boat — “opened the tarp, saw a man covered with blood, and went back in the house and called police.”

Authorities, he added, were justified in lifting the lockdown, even though Tsarnaev was still at large.

“It was a serious and very dangerous situation,” DeVeau said. “He managed to elude us by being outside our perimeter.

“We told people this was a very dangerous situation,” he said, adding that in the overnight shootout, “There were 200 rounds, explosives and handmade grenades.

“This is something in an urban community that is almost unheard of,” DeVeau said.

Earlier on Friday, hundreds of cops and SWAT sharpshooters in Boston raced against the clock to find the heavily-armed Tsarnaev.

Police feared the teen might be wearing a “suicide vest’’ packed with explosives that could be detonated instantly.

Tsarnaev, described by former classmates as a friendly student and talented athlete, had fled on foot after abandoning a stolen vehicle.

The extraordinary manhunt, which shut down Boston and its surrounding suburbs, followed a bloody night of explosions and gunfire in the streets. An M.I.T. police officer was shot and killed, and a transit police officer wounded, by the suspects, police said.

Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan, was killed in the shootout after the suspects carjacked a vehicle and led police on a high-speed chase. So desperate was Dzhokhar to flee authorities that he floored his escape vehicle, running over his dying brother, police said.

Authorities had warned residents of Boston and its surrounding suburbs to remain inside their homes with the doors locked as the search continued. All bus and train services in and out of Boston, including Amtrak, Bolt Bus and Megabus, was suspended to close off possible escape routes.

The suspects' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, called his nephews “losers” and had urged Dzhokhar to surrender.

“We are ashamed,” he told reporters outside his home in Maryland. “Somebody radicalized them, but it wasn’t my brother.’’

But the brothers’ aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva, who said she was responsible for helping them move to the U.S., had insisted that they were innocent and could not be “part of this terrible, horrible act that was committed in the streets of Boston.’’

“I know these two nephews — smart boys, good boys — they have no motive for that, they have no ideas to be going to this kind of act. It’s just not the case, it cannot be true,’’ she said.

Investigators identified the brothers on Thursday as the only suspects in the Monday’s devastating marathon explosions which killed three people and injured 176 others, many of them maimed for life with missing arms, legs and eyes.

The blasts were caused by pressure cookers that were fashioned into homemade bombs and left in backpacks near the marathon’s finish line — the worst attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

About five hours after the FBI released surveillance photos showing the brothers walking near the scene of the explosions, a M.I.T. university police officer was shot and killed on the university’s campus.

He was shot in his police cruiser as he was responding to a call on the campus, DeVeau, the Watertown police chief, said at the Friday night news conference.

Minutes later, the men staged a carjacking, holding their victim inside the vehicle for a half an hour before releasing him unharmed. They bragged to the terrified car owner that they were the marathon bombers, according to police.

Police chased the brothers’ vehicle to suburban Watertown, with the pair brazenly hurling pipe bombs at police from their car. The pursuing officers and the suspects also exchanged fire.

During the gun fight, the older brother was struck multiple times. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess and was pronounced dead of multiple internal injuries from numerous gunshots and injuries possibly caused by the detonation of an explosive device strapped to his body.

The slain M.I.T. officer, identified as Sean Collier, was described by his roommate as an “awesome’’ and brave man.’’

“He was the guy who went to help,” the roommate said. “The best guy got shot down by the biggest scumbags.”

A government official told The New York Times that Dzhokhar came to the U.S. in 2002 with his father and mother on a regular visa and applied for refugee status. His brother Tamerlan came about a year later. Dzhokhar became a naturalized U.S. citizen last September.
The brothers have two sisters, one of whom lives with her husband in West New York, N.J. FBI agents had sealed off the sister’s home Friday afternoon and had questioned her.


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