Metro SWAT members hang off the back of a truck as they prepare to search the School and Walnut Street neighborhood for one remaining suspect in Watertown, Mass.
(The New York Times)- One of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was killed early Friday morning after leading the police on a wild chase after the fatal shooting of a campus police officer, while the other was sought in an immense manhunt that shut down large parts of the area. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts said residents of Boston and its neighboring communities should “stay indoors, with their doors locked.”
The two suspects were identified by law enforcement officials as brothers. The surviving suspect was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass., a law enforcement official said. The one who was killed was identified as his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. The authorities were investigating whether the dead man had a homemade bomb strapped to his body when he was killed, two law enforcement officials said.
The manhunt for the surviving suspect sent the Boston region into the grip of a security emergency: residents of the city and the surrounding area were urged to stay indoors, as hundreds of police officers conducted a manhunt and all public transit services were suspended.
Col. Tim Alben of the Massachusetts State Police said investigators believed that the two men were responsible for the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and the shooting of an officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the region’s transit authority. “We believe these are the same individuals that were responsible for the bombing on Monday at the Boston Marathon,” he said.
Officials said that the two men were of Chechen origin. Chechnya, a long-disputed, predominantly Muslim territory in southern Russia sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then fought two bloody wars with the authorities in Moscow. Russian assaults on Chechnya were brutal and killed tens of thousands of civilians, as terrorist groups from the region staged attacks in central Russia. In recent years, separatist militant groups have gone underground, and surviving leaders have embraced fundamentalist Islam.
The family lived briefly in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, near Chechnya, before moving to the United States, said a school administrator there. Irina V. Bandurina, secretary to the director of School No. 1, said the Tsarnaev family left Dagestan for the United States in 2002 after living there for about a year. She said the family — parents, two boys and two girls — had lived in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan previously.
The brothers have substantial presences on social media. On Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social media platform, the younger brother, Dzhokhar, describes his worldview as “Islam” and, asked to identify “the main thing in life,” answers “career and money.” He lists a series of affinity groups relating to Chechnya, and lists a verse from the Koran, “Do good, because Allah loves those who do good.”
One former schoolmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts described him as “very sweet,” adding, “I never heard anyone say a bad word about him.” Another, Meron Woldemariam, 17, the manager of the school volleyball team that Mr. Tsarnaev had played for, said that he had left the team in the middle of the season to wrestle. She described him as normal — sociable, friendly and fun to talk to. He was a senior when she was a freshman.
The older brother left a record on YouTube of his favorite clips, which included Russian rap videos, as well as testimonial from a young ethnic Russian man titled “How I accepted Islam and became a Shiite,” and a clip “Seven Steps to Successful Prayer.”
Alvi Karimov, the spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya, said the Tsarnaev brothers had not lived in Chechnya for many years. He told the Interfax news service that, according to preliminary information, the family “moved to a different region of the Russian Federation from Chechnya many years ago.” He continued, “Then the family lived for a long time in Kazakhstan, and from there moved to the United States, where the members of the family received residency permits.”
“In such a way, the figures who are being spoken about did not live in Chechnya at a mature age, and if they became ‘bad guys,’ then this is a question that should be put to the people who raised them,” he said.
Early Friday, a virtual army of heavily armed law enforcement officers was going through houses in Watertown, outside of Boston, one by one in a search for the second suspect. The police had blocked off a 20-block residential area and urged residents emphatically to stay inside their homes and not answer their doors.
The Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, said, “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people, and we need to get him in custody.”
With gunfire ricocheting around the tranquil neighborhood, residents were later told to go into their basements and stay away from windows.
The pursuit began after 10 p.m. Thursday when two men robbed a 7-Eleven near Central Square in Cambridge. A security camera caught a man identified as one of the suspects wearing a gray hooded shirt.
About 10:30 p.m., the police received reports that Sean Collier, a campus security officer at M.I.T., had been shot while he sat in his police cruiser. He was found with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a statement issued by the acting Middlesex district attorney, Michael Pelgro, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas and the M.I.T. police chief, John DiFava. The officer was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A short time later, the police received reports of an armed carjacking of a Mercedes sport-utility vehicle by two males in the area of Third Street in Cambridge, the statement said. “The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two males and was kept in the car with the suspects for approximately a half hour,” the statement said. He was later released, uninjured, at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
The police immediately began to search for the vehicle and pursued it into Watertown. During the chase, “explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects,” the statement said, and the suspects and police exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter Avenue and Laurel Street.
A Watertown resident, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police S.U.V. “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.
The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”
“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it,” he said. “But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one man ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.
The explosions, said another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, “lit up the whole house.” She said, “I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kitzenberg said the other man got back into the S.U.V., turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”
The two men left “a few backpacks right by the car, and there is a bomb robot out there now,” he said.
During this exchange, an MBTA police officer was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital.
At the same time, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was critically injured with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m., officials said.
A doctor who works at Beth Israel, and who lived in the area of the chase and shootout, said he was working at home around 1 a.m. when he heard the wailing sirens. He said at a news conference at Beth Israel that he recognized that something was wrong and alerted his emergency room to prepare for something.