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Manhunt continues for bombing suspect; one suspect killed

3:25 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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by Kevin Johnson, Donna Leinwand Legler and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

BOSTON - The city and its suburbs remain in lockdown Friday afternoon as a massive manhunt intensifies for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. The search comes just hours after the suspect's older brother died following a dramatic shootout with police in nearby Watertown.

Authorities are focusing a house-to-house sweep in Watertown for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the brother of the dead suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. Police say Dzhokhar is armed and fear he is wearing an explosive vest. At 3 p.m., thousands of police had swept about 70% of the Watertown area.

A federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY that authorities were planning an afternoon search of the Cambridge, Mass., residence where the brothers were living. They had been hesitant to enter the location out of fear that it might contain additional explosives and rigged with boobytraps. They were also planning a controlled detonation of explosive devices. It's unclear if some of the devices were among those found near the shootout scene early Friday morning or others near the Norfolk Street residence of the brothers.

During the overnight and early-morning pursuit of the suspects, the official said authorities recovered a handful of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including one in the possession of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. All of the devices appeared to be homemade "fused'' explosives.

Police took Tamerlan Tsarnaev to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center following the gunfight with police, at about 1:20 a.m. Friday. Dr. David Schoenfeld said medical personnel tried to revive him. He had multiple gunshot wounds as well as burn and gaping blast wounds that appeared to have come from an explosive device strapped to his body.

The brothers' acts continue to befuddle authorities, family and friends that know them. lnvestigators have not found any formal links so far to an international terror group. Law enforcement officials are investigating the brothers' possible link to a third person, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to comment publicly. But the identity of that person was not immediately clear.

Dzhokar's escape prompted Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to order the city of Boston and its surrounding suburbs locked down and its residents to remain in their homes. Businesses in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Alston and Brighton neighborhoods of Boston were requested to remain closed and residents to remain indoors until the suspect is caught. Massachusetts shut down all mass transit, including buses and trains, in Boston and surrounding suburbs, Kurt Schwartz, director of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said.

The Tsarnaevs are believed to have moved to the USA from war-torn Chechnya in 2003, along with other family members. Tamerlan attended Bunker Hill Community College in nearby Charlestown as a part-time student for three semesters from 2006 to 2008. He studied accounting.

In an telephone interview from Russian with the Associated Press, the brothers' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said Dzhokhar is "a true angel" and "an intelligent boy."

Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle who had not spoken to his brother's sons since December 2005, urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in to authorities. Meeting with reporters Friday outside his home in Montgomery County, MD., Tsani said he believed the brothers may have been recently "radicalized." Tsarni says he was unaware of any military or weapons training they may have received. Tsarni called the brothers "losers" and said they had brought his family shame.

Their names were not known to law enforcement officials before the bombings, which killed three people and wounded 176. Authorities are reviewing the brothers' possible ties to Chechnya - an area of Russia plagued by Islamic insurgency - a law enforcement official who is not authorized to comment publicly told USA TODAY.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have dropped a backpack laden with explosives at the site of Monday's second explosion. He was pictured wearing a white baseball cap in video images released by the FBI Thursday. His page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, graduating in 2011, the year he won a $2,500 college scholarship from the city of Cambridge. On the website, his world view is described as "Islam" and he says his personal goal is "career and money."

Larry Aaronson, a neighbor and retired history teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, got to know Dzhokhar while taking photos of the high school wrestling team and other school activities.

"It's completely out of his character," Aaronson said of Dzhokhar's alleged role in the bombings. "Everything about him was wonderful. He was completely outgoing, very engaged, he loved the school. He was grateful not to be in Chechnya."

Dzhokhar was not overtly political or religious, Aaronson says. "He spoke and acted like any other high school kid."

Aaronson says he can't reconcile the young man he knows with the characterizations he's seeing in the media. "I cannot do it," he says. "I mean this from the deepest part of my heart: It's not possible it's the same person. It's just not possible."

The manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects turned into hot pursuit at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, when the two men robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge. Minutes later, an MIT campus police officer was shot multiple times as he was sitting in his car. He was later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was later identified as Sean Collier, 26, an campus police officer since January 2012 and previously, a civilian employee at the Somerville Police Department.

The suspects carjacked a Mercedes SUV between 12:15 and 12:30 a.m, holding the driver at gunpoint for a half hour before he was shoved from the car unharmed. A federal law enforcement official, who was not authorized to comment publicly, said the men allegedly told the driver that they were the Marathon bombers.

The official said the suspects' allegedly acknowledged their roles in the Marathon bombings as a form of intimidation and boast.

Police found the car and the suspects in Watertown, and pursued them into a residential neighborhood where gunfire was exchanged.

A transit police officer, Richard H. Donohue Jr., 33, was shot once during the firefight. He underwent surgery and is listed in critical condition at Mount Auburn Hospital.

Witnesses report hearing many gunshots.

Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot by police in a gunfight following a pursuit that began late Thursday night in Cambridge and ended a short time later in Watertown. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Alben said the suspects also threw explosives from the car. Residents, witnesses and media in the area heard at least two large booms.

"I heard sirens, then a ton of gunshots,'' said Adam Healy, 31, a behavioral specialist for autism who lives less than a mile from the scene. "And then I heard an explosion amid the gunshots. After the explosion, the sky lit up."

Dan MacDonald, 40, sitting in a second-story Watertown apartment, said he first heard sirens, then gunshots.

"It was about 10 to 15 shots. then there was an onslaught," he said. "There were 25 to 60 shots within 45 seconds. Then the shots stopped and boom. It was like dynamite."

Alvi Tsarnaev, another uncle of the suspects, said Friday that Tamerlan phoned him Thursday night at about 7 p.m., the first time they had spoken in about two years.

"He said, 'I love you and forgive me,' " said Alvi Tsarnaev, who lives in Montgomery Village, Md. He wasn't seeking forgiveness for the bombing, but asking for forgiveness because he hadn't spoken to him in so long.

"We were not talking for a long time because there were some problems," Alvi Tsarnaev said without elaborating. "We were not happy with each other."

They spoke for about five minutes, he said. Tamerlan, who is Muslim, started out by saying, "Salam Aleikum," an Arabic greeting meaning "peace on you." He then praised his uncle for keeping up with his Muslim prayers.

"He told me he was happy," he said. "He was asking, 'Did you pay your mortgage?' I told him I was trying to pay. I asked him what he was doing. He said, 'I fix cars, I got married, got a baby.'

"Killing innocent people, I cannot forgive that," Alvi Tsarnaev said. "It's crazy. I don't believe it now even. How can I forgive this?"

The Lowell Sun reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a Golden Gloves boxer who told the newspaper that "I like the USA" after winning his first fight in 2004 in Lowell. He fought in the 178-pound novice class.

According to the Sun, Tamerlan and his family moved to the USA in 2003, hoping to start a new life after leaving Grozny, Chechnya, much of which was destroyed in the conflict with Russia. "America has a lot of jobs. That's something Russia doesn't have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work," he told The Sun.

Contributing: John Bacon and Mary Beth Marklein in McLean, Va.; Yamiche Alcindor and Melanie Eversley in Boston, William Welch in Los Angeles, Judy Keen in Chicago and Shawn Cohen of The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News.



by Donna Leinwand Leger, Kevin Johnson, Yamiche Alcindor and William M. Welch, USA TODAY

Update 8:20 a.m.

BOSTON -- The city and its suburbs were locked down Friday as the manhunt intensified for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, hours after one suspect was killed in a dramatic firefight with police in nearby Watertown, authorities said.

The fugitive is Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, the brother of the dead suspect who was not immediately identified, law enforcement authorities told USA TODAY. Both suspects have been in the U.S. for about a year, living as legal U.S. residents in Cambridge, and authorities are reviewing their possible ties to Chechnya -- an area of Russia plagued by Islamic insurgency -- said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly.

The surviving suspect is believed to be the same suspect who dropped a backpack laden with explosives at the site of the second explosion.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ordered the entire city of Boston and its surrounding suburbs locked down and its residents to remain in their homes.

"We are asking people to shelter in place," he said.

Massachusetts shut down all mass transit, including buses and trains, in Boston and surrounding suburbs, Kurt Schwartz, director of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said. Schools were closed and classes canceled at most universities.

Colonel Timothy Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police said the first suspect from Monday's bombing was shot by police in a gunfight following a pursuit that began Thursday night in Cambridge and ended a short time later in Watertown. He said that suspect died at a hospital.

Schwartz asked all businesses in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Alston and Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to remain closed and al residents of those area to remain indoors until the bombing suspect is caught. Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau said his town would be closed to traffic.

"This situation is grave," Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben said. "We are here to protect public safety."

Alben described the second suspect as a light-skinned or Caucasian male with brown curly haird ressed in a gray hooded type sweat shirt.

"We are concerned about securing the area and making sure this individual is taken into custody," he said. "We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who has come here to kill people."

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told reporters the man they are seeking is armed and dangerous. A transit police officer was also critically wounded in the pursuit.

A transit police officer was reported in critical condition after being shot.

The manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects turned into hot pursuit at 10:30 p.m., when the two men robbed a 7-11 convenience store on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Alben said. A few minutes later, police found an MIT campus police officer shot multiple times in his car, Alben said.

The police officer died of his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The suspects then car-jacked a Mercedes SUV, Alben said. Police found the car and the suspects in Watertown, and pursued them into a residential neighborhood where gunfire was exchanged.

Witnesses report hearing between 15 and 50 shots.

Alben said the suspects also threw explosives from the car. Residents, witnesses and media in the area heard at least two large booms.

A Massachusetts law enforcement official, speaking on condition he not be identified by name, said that the suspect who died is thought to be the first suspect in the FBI photos of the alleged bombers, wearing a dark hat.

The Middlesex district attorney's office said in a statement that police responded to reports of an armed carjacking by two males who held a victim at gunpoint for half an hour before the hostage was released uninjured.

Police could be seen with guns drawn over one one man face down on a paved street. CNN later reported that man was released by police.

The Massachusetts State Police issued a Tweet at 3:45 a.m. saying police "will be going door by door, street by street, in and around Watertown'' searching for the at-large suspect.

The state police also advised residents in and around Watertown to stay inside. "Do NOT answer door unless it is an identified police officer,'' the department said.

The events unfolded overnight as the entire Boston metro area was on high alert following Monday's fatal bomb explosions during the Boston Marathon and as the FBI was leading a massive manhunt for suspects. The developments came on a day when the FBI issued photographs of two men that it said it is seeking and were seen in surveillance video carrying backpacks in the marathon race crowd on Monday before the twin explosions.

"I heard sirens, then a ton of gunshots.,'' said Adam Healy, 31, a behavioral specialist for autism who lives less than a mile from the scene. "And then I heard an explosion amid the gunshots. After the explosion, the sky lit up. "

Dan MacDonald, 40, sitting in a second story Watertown apartment, said he first heard sirens, then gunshots.

"It was about 10 to 15 shots. then there was an onslaught," he said. "There were 25 to 60 shots within 45 seconds. Then the shots stopped and boom. It was like dynamite."

Contributing: John Bacon in McLean, Va.; Melanie Eversley in Boston

Previous story

BOSTON -- A manhunt for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was underway across the city and its western suburbs Friday, hours after the other suspect was was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Colonel Timothy Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police said the first suspect from Monday's bombing was shot by police in a gunfight following a pursuit that began Thursday night in Cambridge and ended a short time later in nearby Watertown. He said that suspect died at a hospital.

Alben said the second suspect, seen in FBI-released photographs wearing a white cap, is still at large. Authorities urged residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit was shut down.

Alben described the second suspect as a light-skinned or Caucasian male with brown curly haird ressed in a gray hooded type sweat shirt.

"We are concerned about securing the area and making sure this individual is taken into custody," he said. "We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who has come here to kill people."

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told reporters the man they are seeking is armed and dangerous. A transit police officer was also critically wounded in the pursuit.

Police did not provide the suspects' names.

A transit police officer was reported in critical condition after being shot.

The manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects turned into hot pursuit at 10:30 p.m., when the two men robbed a 7-11 convenience store on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Alben said. A few minutes later, police found an MIT campus police officer shot multiple times in his car, Alben said.

The police officer died of his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The suspects then car-jacked a Mercedes SUV, Alben said. Police found the car and the suspects in Watertown, and pursued them into a residential neighborhood where gunfire was exchanged.

Witnesses report hearing between 15 and 50 shots.

Alben said the suspects also threw explosives from the car. Residents, witnesses and media in the area heard at least two large booms.

A Massachusetts law enforcement official, speaking on condition he not be identified by name, said that the suspect who died is thought to be the first suspect in the FBI photos of the alleged bombers, wearing a dark hat.

The Middlesex district attorney's office said in a statement that police responded to reports of an armed carjacking by two males who held a victim at gunpoint for half an hour before being released uninjured.

Police could be seen with guns drawn one one man face down on a paved street. CNN later reported that man was released by police.

The Massachusetts State Police issued a Tweet at 3:45 a.m. saying police "will be going door by door, street by street, in and around Watertown'' searching for the at-large suspect.

The state police also advised residents in and around Watertown to stay inside. "Do NOT answer door unless it is an identified police officer,'' the department said.

The events unfolded overnight as the entire Boston metro area was on high alert following Monday's fatal bomb explosions during the Boston Marathon and as the FBI was leading a massive manhunt for suspects. The developments came on a day when the FBI issued photographs of two men that it said it is seeking and were seen in surveillance video carrying backpacks in the marathon race crowd on Monday before the twin explosions.

"I heard sirens, then a ton of gunshots.,'' said Adam Healy, 31, a behavioral specialist for autism who lives less than a mile from the scene. "And then I heard an explosion amid the gunshots. After the explosion, the sky lit up. "

Dan MacDonald, 40, sitting in a second story Watertown apartment, said he first heard sirens, then gunshots.

"It was about 10 to 15 shots. then there was an onslaught," he said. "There were 25 to 60 shots within 45 seconds. Then the shots stopped and boom. It was like dynamite."

Contributing: Melanie Eversley; John Bacon

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) -- Police say one of two suspects in the shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer is dead and a massive manhunt is underway for another, who is believed to be tied to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Shortly after the MIT officer was shot dead Thursday night, police got a report of a carjacking in Cambridge, just outside Boston. One of the two suspects in that officer's shooting was killed. Police say of the at-large suspect, "We believe this to be a terrorist."

The FBI said it is working with local authorities to determine what happened.

The MIT shooting on the Cambridge campus Thursday night was followed by reports of violence in nearby Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston.

State police spokesman David Procopio had said there was a "strong possibility" the incidents are related.

The MIT officer had been responding to report of a disturbance Thursday night when he was shot multiple times, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney's office and Cambridge police. It said there were no other victims.

In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.

State police spokesman David Procopio said, "The incident in Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly, potentially, being used against the police officers."

Boston cab driver Imran Saif said he was standing on a street corner at a police barricade across from a diner when he heard an explosion.

"I heard a loud boom and then a rapid succession of pop, pop, pop," he said. "It sounded like automatic weapons. And then I heard the second explosion."

He said he could smell something burning and advanced to check it out but area residents at their windows yelled at him, "Hey, it's gunfire! Don't go that way!"

MIT said right after the 10:30 p.m. shooting that police were sweeping the campus in Cambridge and urged people to remain indoors. They urged people urged to stay away from the Stata Building, a mixed-use building with faculty offices, classrooms and a common area.

Hours later, MIT, which has about 11,000 students, said the campus was clear but the shooter was still on the loose.
  

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