New Secrets of the Forgotten Watertown Shootout, Revealed
Even as the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bedside hearings continue and the story of the brothers' motives comes into view — even as the terror prosecution begins of a patient now in fair condition — vivid details are beginning to emerge about a night of mayhem.
Even as the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bedside hearings continue and the story of the brothers' motives comes into view — even as the terror prosecution begins of a patient now in fair condition — vivid details are beginning to emerge about the night of mayhem in Watertown, Massachusetts. Indeed, perhaps lost in the lockdown of the neighborhood and the ensuing boat capture last Friday are the confusing early-morning hours between when the brothers Tsarnaev killed an MIT police officer (laid to rest today) and when Dzhokhar ran over Tamerlan and went into hiding. Admit it: You've probably been wondering what ever happened to that naked guy arrested on TV in the middle of the night, or where those 200 bullets ended up in the middle of a suddenly not-so-sleepy neighborhood. Wonder no more.
Where Did All Those Bullets Go?
(The block on Laurel Avenue where residents told The Boston Globe they spotted a green Honda Civic out their windows, apparently with Tamerlan Tsarnaev firing a gun behind it as police presence came in — and a pressure cooker came hurled back in their direction.)
Short Answer: Everywhere.
Explanation: According to Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau, 200-300 shots were fired, shortly before 1 a.m. and they weren't all direct shots. Indeed, many of those shots were originally reported not by CNN or the police-scanner happy reporters on social media that night but by Watertown residents themselves, ducking for cover, evacuated or not. Andrew Kitzenberg lives on the Laurel Avenue block where the firefight went down, and after live-tweeting the whole thing (not to mention conduct live Skype interviews on cable TV), he's posted a whole new batch of remarkable iPhone photos from out his bedroom window. Seriously, go check out Kitzenberg's photos over at the blog for his startup, OnHand. But notice that one of his photos shows the residential unfurling of the authorities' mid-street shootout with the holed-up bombers:
Bullet hole through our wall and the chair #mitshooting #mit #boston twitter.com/AKitz/status/3…— Andrew Kitzenberg (@AKitz) April 19, 2013
That's a little frightening, and perhaps is a testamant to the luck in this case that bystanders weren't harmed during a gun blaze. The authorities recovered four firearms in their investigation, including an M-4 carbine rifle on that fateful boat, which was apparently obtained illegally, according to The New York Times, which adds:
Two handguns and a BB gun that the authorities believe the brothers used in an earlier shootout with officers in Watertown were also recovered, said one official briefed on the investigation. The authorities said they believe the suspects had fired roughly 80 rounds in that shootout, in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally wounded, the official said.
Kitzenberg's under-pressure photography also showed us a first hand glimpse of what the shootout looked like...
...but he didn't catch the pressure cooker that the brothers reportedly hurled in the cops' direction — or any of the flashbang action reported by the Watertown police chief:
Deveau said the Tsarnaev brothers hurled something at the officers – apparently a pressure cooker bomb -- and there was a tremendous explosion. Police later found the lid to a pressure cooker. “We believe it was an exact duplicate of the Boston Marathon bombs,” he said. The suspects also threw five “crude grenades” at officers; three of which exploded, he said.
What Happened to the Naked Guy?
Short Answer: Some guy who obviously works out and has no connection to the investigation whatsoever and is not Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The Explanation: As media reports got their first reports from on the scene in front of cameras, this guy seemed really important. CNN "photojournalist" Gabe Ramirez became quite the personality — and quite exasperated — for his apparent sneaking behind police barriers to gather footage of said unnamed naked guy:
And here's the story behind the footage:
Indeed, several outlets surmised that that buff naked guy might be Tamerlan, or some sort of third man — in addition to that other debunked third man in the Amtrak confusion in Connecticut on Friday....
A third man, who authorities believe was an accomplice of the bombing suspects, has been arrested according to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. He may be the man, seen in videos earlier Friday, who police ordered to strip naked and was then put in the back of a patrol car.
And even though the FBI and now Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself have insisted the Tsarnaev brothers acted alone, there are still conspiracy theories surrounding the muscled naked guy, as Wired's Robert Beckhusen points out.
Well, the man wan't just hanging around naked on the night of a shootout. He was actually clothed at one time. He was naked, presumably, because police thought he may have been connected and possibly had explosives strapped to himself, and they ordered him to strip down. Here's NBC's report:
A man in his 20s who was thought to be a suspect but later cleared and released was ordered to strip naked, according to CNN. Officials were concerned he had explosives on his body.
Unlike the victim of the carjacking earlier that night or the guy with the boat later that day, Watertown's naked man in the squad car remains a mystery man.
There Was a Seriously Wounded Cop, Right?
Short Answer: Yes, and he's doing better.
Explanation: Richard Donohue, an MBTA transit poliice officer, is still in critical condition after being shot during the firefight early Friday morning. "Surgeons at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge say 33-year-old Richard Donohue is in stable but critical condition. He is sedated and on a breathing machine but opened his eyes, moved his hands and feet and squeezed his wife's hand Sunday," reported the AP. At a press conference on Monday, MBTA officers — the same guys who picked up the hunt in the early evening on Friday, after following the suspects from bloody Cambridge to manic Watertown — said they're still hoping Donohue will make a full recovery. They said his breathing tubes were removed on Monday and that he can now breathe on his own, according to The Boston Globe. "Each day we get more optimistic," MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan said.
Who Actually Killed Tamerlan?
Short Answer: Dzhokar, the Watertown police chief says. Not sure, says everyone else for now.
Explanation: Chief Deveau spoke with The Boston Globe, insisting that he believes Dzhokar inflicted the fatal injuries to Tamerlan when he ran him over with the stolen Mercedes SUV they had carjacked on the way from Cambridge to Watertown — then escaped. The report reads:
After several minutes, the elder brother, Tamerlan, walked toward the officers, firing his gun until he appeared to run out of bullets, Deveau said. Officers tackled him and were trying to get handcuffs on him, when the stolen SUV came roaring at them, the younger brother at the wheel. The officers scattered and the SUV plowed over Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was dragged briefly under the car, he said.
That makes it sound like Tamerlan was still struggling if cops had trouble putting cuffs on him. That report doesn't mention, though, the many wounds Tamerlan received — so many that his medical examiner said it wasn't clear which ones were fatal. We won't show you a gruesome photo making the rounds, but the AP reported:
Dr. David Schoenfeld said 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unconscious and had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday that it isn't clear which ones killed him, and a medical examiner will have to determine the cause of death.
The sun rose on a shaken Boston, with Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar on the loose, and it began to set that way. At a press briefing, Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the stay-in-place order from the city. Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police took to the podium offering few answers — even though the authorities would zero in on the boat within the hour. Of the Watertown melee, Alben was asked, simply: "How did he get away?" indicated that his officers scoured 20 streets in Watertown over the day, checking on residents and, in some cases, searching houses. But, he said, "we cannot continue to lock down an entire city or an entire state." The agency also followed a number of leads around the eastern part of the state, but "none of them have been fruitful." Alben couldn't say whether or not Tsarnaev was still in the area, but his "ties" are in the area. It's not believed that Tsarnaev has a vehicle at his disposal. The suspect escaped on foot after the firefight, and has not been seen since. "I don't know where he went," Alben says.
For now, at least, Boston has some more answers on rapid-fire violence. Stay tuned for the latest.