Boston Marathon bombing manhunt liveblog: bombing suspect in custody, officials thank public
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now confirmed to be in custody, and is said to be in serious condition.
Updated Friday, 10:15
Speaking at a news conference in Watertown following the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, officials thanked law enforcement and the public for their help in apprehending the suspect. Governor Deval Patrick praised law enforcement “who brought their A-game.” FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers, who heads the bureau's Boston field office, thanked the media for helping to publicize images of the suspects.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis explained that Tsarnaev was discovered when, after the lockdown was lifted, a man noticed a trail of blood in his backyard. He followed the trail to his boat, which was in his backyard, lifted the tarp, and saw an injured man inside. He replaced the tarp and called the police.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz suggested that Tsarnaev was not read his Miranda rights, citing a national security exemption. “My journey and my office’s journey begins,” she said.
Shortly afterward, President Obama made a statement from the White House. He said of the bombers: "Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve ultimately failed."
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 8:57
Tsarnaev, who is described as "bloodied" following the standoff, is now en route to Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, where the transit officer who was injured last night in a firefight between the Tsarnaev brothers and police is now recovering.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 8:49
Amid sounds of applause at the scene of a standoff between law enforcement and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had been cornered under a boat, Boston police have now announced that he is now in custody.
Police are now sweeping the area for explosives.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 8:43
As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains cornered under a boat in a backyard in a Watertown neighborhood, reports are surfacing that a neighborhood in New Bedford, a coastal city south of Boston, has been locked down in connection with the Marathon bombing case. ABC's Providence, R.I. affiliate, says that three people have been arrested at an apartment complex in the city. Neighbors reportedly said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's girlfriend lived in the complex.
Updated Friday, 8:29
Police have confirmed that the person pinned under the boat is indeed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Reporters on the scene say that law enforcement are using flashbangs, non-lethal explosive devices designed to disorient.
Police are attempting to capture Tsarnaev alive. They have not ruled out the possibility that Tsarnaev is wearing a suicide vest.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 7:50 p.m.
Many news outlets on the scene in Watertown are reporting that police say they have the Boston Marathon bombing suspect "pinned" under a boat in a backyard in a residential neighborhood.
Officers are proceeding with caution, out of concern that the area may be booby-trapped, or that the suspect is wearing a suicide vest.
According to reports, more shots have been fired, as police wait for tactical squads.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Boston Police Department has tweeted an alert of a "heavy police presence" in the Franklin Street area of Watertown. Franklin street is a densely populated residential neighborhood.
Unconfirmed reports state that a body has been found in a boat sitting in a backyard in the neighborhood. The popular Boston news blog Universal Hub has posted a Google satellite view image of the street, where a boat platform can be seen.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Just 30 minutes following a press conference in Watertown in which Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and law enforcement officials announced the lifting of the lockdown that brought a large swath of Boston’s metro region to a standstill, reports have surfaced of shots fired in Watertown.
A tweet from the Boston Police Department announced that the “shelter in place” lockdown has been reinstated in the Franklin Street area of Watertown.
A tweet from the Boston Globe reads: “Shots fired in Watertown; source says Boston Marathon terror bomb suspect has been pinned down
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 6:42 p.m.
The unprecedented lockdown of Boston and surrounding municipalities, a swath that encompasses more than 90 square miles, has been lifted. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whom the FBI has labeled “Suspect 2” in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, remains at large.
At a press conference in Watertown, authorities announced that the stay-indoors request has been lifted. Residents are free to leave their homes, and public transit will resume immediately, said officials.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has announced that buses and subways are back online, but that commuter rail and ferry service will resume on Saturday.
Noting that Tsarnaev, who fled amid a heavy exchange of gunfire in Watertown Thursday night following crime spree that left one police officer dead and several more injured, has not yet been apprehended, Governor Deval Patrick encouraged the public to “remain vigilant.”
“We cannot continue to lock down an entire city or an entire state,” said Timothy Alben, the head of the Massachusetts State Police. Alben encourage that Tsarnaev give himself up, and confirmed that he is the only person currently being searched for. Alben also told reporters that he believes the suspect is still somewhere in Massachusetts.
“If you see this individual, do not take action on your own,” Alben warned. Instead, those who spot Tsarnaev should call 911 or submit the information to bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov/
“We’re convinced we did everything we could in this neighborhood,” said Alben.
“We are committed to seeing a conclusion to this case,” said Gov. Patrick.
-- Jacob Turcotte and Eoin O'Carroll
Updated Friday, 4:49 p.m.
The manhunt in the Boston area continues with an extraordinary show of force, as heavily armed police and armored vehicles swarm the streets of the city, and Black Hawk helicopters hover overhead.
The primary focus of the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “Suspect 2” in Monday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon remains in a neighborhood of Watertown, Mass., just outside of Cambridge, and across the river from Boston. Tsarnaev’s brother Tamerlan is thought to have been killed in a shootout with police overnight, near where the police are now searching.
A media update from the governor, mayor, and a State Police representative is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Residents of Boston and several surrounding communities – more than 90 square miles in total – were instructed to "shelter in place" Friday during a sprawling manhunt for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have lived in the Boston area for years. What may have prompted the Boston bombing remains a mystery. Here’s a rundown of what we know about the alleged bombers so far.
The Monitor's Peter Grier reports that experts say that the suspects, immigrants from a violent region of the Caucasus, were more likely motivated by disaffection with the US rather than radical ideology.
That said, the brothers' Chechen identity still could have played a role in the attacks. Monitor writer Howard LaFranchi notes that, if the the two suspects were raised in Chechnya, the region's warrior tradition – which stresses male independence and defiance of authority – would likely have shaped their childhood.
The Monitor's Moscow correspondent describes how the mainly Muslim region of Chechnya’s history is heavily shaped by its tense relationship with Russia.
Meanwhile, London Marathon organizers pledge to keep calm and carry on. City officials say they're watching security closely, but that events in Boston shouldn't dampen enthusiasm for Sunday's event, which is expected to draw 70,000 spectators.
-- Jacob Turcotte
Updated Friday, 3:57 p.m.
As of late Friday afternoon, a city-wide “shelter in place” order was still in effect in Boston, Watertown, Newton, Belmont, and Cambridge. Residents across the city remained indoors for most of the unseasonably warm April day.
Mass transit remains suspended, but area highways remain open and Boston’s Logan International Airport continues to operate. Amtrak’s service from Boston to New York remains suspended at this time, pending a decision from local authorities.
Early on Friday afternoon, Undersecretary for Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Massachusetts, Kurt N. Schwartz, told office workers in areas subject to lockdown to leave work, travel home, and shelter in place there. He suggested that commuters will need to arrange transportation by car or taxi.
Scheduled games tonight for the Boston Red Sox and the Bruins have been cancelled or rescheduled, and the Big Apple Circus cancelled its 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. shows on Friday the 19th.
An emergency message was sent to Bostonians’ cellphones Friday afternoon, clarifying, “Shelter in place still in effect, it does not prevent workers from returning home - MEMA”
Not everyone in the area remained indoors, however. Some businesses remained open Friday, and reports on the popular Boston news blog Universal Hub suggest that at least some people are enjoying the nicest weather Boston has seen this year.
-- Jacob Turcotte
Updated Friday, 2:42 p.m.
Robin Young, host of WBUR’s Here & Now, realized during the manhunt on Friday morning that the sought-after suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is a close friend of her nephew and had once visited her home for a pre-prom event that she hosted.
Young spoke on Friday with her nephew, who was still trying to understand the news.
“To be honest with you, even still looking at the picture, even still looking at the reports, it’s still kind of hard to accept that this would happen and accept that this would be him,” he said.
Updated Friday, 2:25 p.m.
As the Monitor reported, according to law enforcement sources, at least one of the Tsarnaev brothers was born in Kyrgyzstan. The family appears to have roots in the Chechnya region of Russia, an area ravaged by violence for the last six decades. In the years since the breakup of the Soviet Union, two conflicts in Chechnya have been fought for independence from Russia.
From a recent report by The Monitor’s Peter Grier:
Chechnya has been ravaged by two wars in as many decades: 1994-96, and 1999-2009. The conflicts killed an estimated 350,000 people, created hundreds of thousands of refugees, and laid waste to the entire republic. The Kremlin finally declared victory over the separatist threat in 2009 and withdrew most Russian military forces.
According to a report published by Reuters this morning, a social media profile of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the Russian website VK linked to Islamic websites and political websites calling for Chechen independence.
His "World view" is listed as "Islam" and his "Personal priority" is "career and money".
He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like "Salamworld, my religion is Islam" and "There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts".
He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.
The page also reveals a sense of humor, around his identity as a member of a minority from southern Russia's restive Caucasus, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other predominantly Muslim regions that have seen two decades of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.
In an interview with local media this morning, a man claiming to be the uncle of the suspects expressed his regret and anger at the Tsarnaev brothers, saying to Dzhokhar, who remains a fugitive, "Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness.”
“He put a shame on this family," said Tsarni. "He put a shame on the entire Chechnyan ethnicity.”
For more on the suspects’ Chechen background, see the Monitor’s latest by Fred Weir.
Russian authorities were quick to denounce the terror suspects, Friday. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Sochi on Friday afternoon that they were waiting for official information from the US about the suspects, but condemned “all terrorists,” regardless of their nationality. “They all deserve to be rejected,” the spokesman said.
-- Jacob Turcotte
Updated Friday, 1:45 p.m.
A campus patrol officer at MIT, Sean Collier of Somerville, Mass., has been identified as the officer killed late Thursday night by the suspects following an altercation at the corner of Vassar Street and Main Street in Cambridge, Mass., on the MIT campus.
The 26-year-old joined the campus police force only 14 months ago, reports MIT's news office.
“Sean was one of these guys who really looked at police work as a calling,” said MIT Police Chief John DiFava. “He was born to be a police officer.”
The loss of Officer Collier is deeply painful to the entire MIT community,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “Our thoughts today are with his family, his friends, his colleagues on our police force and, by all accounts, the many other members of our community who knew him. This is a senseless and tragic loss.”
“The MIT Police serve all of us at the Institute with great dignity, honor and dedication,” said Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasure[r].
“Everyone here — those who knew Officer Collier, and those who did not — are devastated by the events that transpired on our campus last night. We will never forget the seriousness with which he took his role protecting MIT and those of us who consider it home.”
-- Jacob Turcotte
Updated Friday, 1:07 p.m.
The hunt began at about 10:30 on Thursday night, after police received a report of a robbery at a 7-11 convenience store near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, Mass. Shortly thereafter, police discovered the body of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who had been shot dead near the school.
After that, Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, are thought to have car-jacked a Mercedes SUV along with its driver, who subsequently escaped at a gas station on Memorial Drive, a state highway that runs along the Charles River in Cambridge. The pair continued west into Watertown, Mass., exchanging gunfire with police who gave chase. One MBTA transit officer was wounded in the shootout. In Watertown, the pair exited the SUV and exchanged more gunfire with police, at one point throwing a pressure cooker bomb similar to the kind used in the deadly Boston Marathon blasts on Monday.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the exchange, and Dzhokhar is said to have fled in the SUV. The Boston University public radio station WBUR reports that 15 police officers were evaluated for injuries at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston's Brighton neighborhood.
The cities of Boston, Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Brookline, Somerville, and Cambridge are now under police lockdown, with residents advised to remain indoors and to open their doors only for uniformed law enforcement officers. Business Insider has posted a gallery of the eerily empty streets.
The lockdown has shut down mass transit, closed business and colleges, and closed off some roads to vehicular traffic. The Monitor's Mark Clayton describes the unprecedented nature of bringing such a large urban area to a standstill:
During emergencies, including college campus and school shootings across the US in recent years, lockdowns have become a first response. But doing so across a city is almost unheard of, with one notable exception: On 9/11, New York, Washington, and much of the transportation infrastructure of the entire nation came to a near standstill. But that hasn’t happened for a manhunt.
"It's unprecedented in responding to a manhunt to shut down a major US city," says Stephen E. Flynn, co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University.
What's driving it, he says, is the attempt by authorities to deal with dangerous, uncertain situations, to freeze the situation and sort things out. Doing that means, for instance, that police don't have to worry about people being available to be potential targets or get caught up indiscriminately, he says.
"When you can't limit the sense of risk in an ongoing threat, the natural reaction is to freeze the situation," Dr. Flynn says. "If that risk is a wider circle you end up freezing more. Typically, you do this to isolate risk – but when that risk seems unbounded, you bring everything to a halt. That's where we are right now."
Monitor writer Peter Grier, compiles what we currently know about the Tsarnaev brothers, who lived in Cambridge and whose family had origins in Chechnya, a region in Russia rocked by a violent independence movement and Islamic insurgency. Tamerlan, who was 26, was an avid boxer who hoped to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Dzhokhar is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. His high school classmates widely described him as popular.
-- Eoin O'Carroll