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Friday, 19 Apr 2013 04:56 AM
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, he said.
He was found on the stern end, or back, of the boat, leaning over, Alben said.
The teen was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in “extremely serious” condition, The Boston Globe reports.
“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.”
In Washington, President Barack Obama also praised investigators.
“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 about someone being in the boat by a local resident who spotted blood on the side of the boat, said Watertown Police Chief Edward DeVeau.
“The community stood strong,” he said. “We got the call and we got the guy.”
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., a hostage negotiator was brought in, WBZ-TV reported.
Minutes later, the Globe tweeted that a photographer could hear police say: “We know you’re in there. Come out on your own terms. Come out with your hands up.”
Fifteen minutes later, Boston police reported that Tsarnaev was taken into custody.
Tsarnaev’s arrest capped a tumultuous 24 hours that included a frantic shootout with police that killed his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan — also considered a suspect in the bombings — 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 authorities said at a news conference that Tsarnaev had eluded a dragnet by abandoning a car and escaping on foot.
Heavily armed police had been searching a 20-block area of Watertown since about 11 p.m. on Thursday.
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.”
The final developments began within moments after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announed mass transit service would resume in Boston and the lockdown order for residents has been lifted.
Authorities said at a news conference that Tsarnaev had eluded a dragnet by abandoning a car and escaping on foot. They urged residents to “remain vigilant if you are out.”
Less than an hour after press conference, CNN and Fox news reporters said about 20 to 30 shots rang out.
Residents told The Boston 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.”
Earlier on Friday, hundreds of cops and SWAT sharpshooters in Boston continued the frantic manhunt for the heavily-armed 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Despite an overnight shootout with police that resulted in the death of Tsarnaev’s older brother and an intense door-to-door search, slipped through the dragnet and 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 MIT police officer was shot and killed, and a transit police officer wounded, by the suspects, police said.
Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, 26, also suspected in the marathon bombings, was killed in a wild shootout with police after the two 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.
Police 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, have been suspended in a bid to close off possible escape routes.
The suspects’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, called his nephews “losers” and 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 aunt suspects’ aunt Maret Tsarnaeva, who said she was responsible for helping them move to the U.S., insisted 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.
The brothers were identified 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.
Along with public transportation being suspended, air space was shut to commercial jets as sophisticated surveillance helicopters took over to search for clues. All classes and student activities at Harvard University and M.I.T., and public and private schools were closed.
The fast moving events began Thursday as FBI officials identified the two brothers as suspects in the devastating blasts 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 two brothers walking near the scene of the explosions, a MIT university police officer was shot and killed on the university’s campus.
Minutes later, the two 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.
Cops chased the brothers’ vehicle to suburban Watertown, with the pair brazenly hurling live explosives 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 Medical Center and 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 older 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 were said to be questioning her to see if she has had any recent contact with her surviving brother.
Authorities are attempting to determine if the attacks may be linked to the ongoing call for Chechen independence.
A Russian language website site with Dzhokhar Tsarneav’s name hailed Islamic websites and freedom fighters calling for the liberation of Chechen. The author said he was a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and attended elementary school in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a Russian province bordering Chechnya.
The website also contained links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and Islamic web pages. One was titled “There is no God by Allah, let that ring out in our hearts.”
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg he believes that at least one if not both of the suspects had “paramilitary training.’’
Late Friday morning, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder briefed President Obama on the latest developments.
Secretary of State John Kerry praised the fast response of law enforcement and called the manhunt “a pretty direct confrontation with evil.”
Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein told NBC News the marathon bombing was “a terrorist attack.” She added: “It’s also clear, you know, that you know you don’t have to be a card-carrying member of any terrorist group to commit a terrorist attack.’’
Just after 12 noon, police in Cambridge carried out a “controlled explosion’’ of several explosive devices that belonged to the two suspects.
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