A week of uneasy, unanswered questions came to an end Friday evening as Boston authorities were finally able to capture the only surviving suspect allegedly behind the Boston Marathon bombings, but only after another intense firefight with police. Now the nation looks for answers.
The 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody Friday evening just before 9 p.m. The whole city of Boston, along with the surrounding communities of Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, and Cambridge were ordered to "shelter in place" -- to lock the door and stay inside -- for most of Friday. That order was lifted around 6 p.m. About an hour later, around 7 p.m., a Watertown homeowner noticed something strange about his boat. The tarp covering it had been removed in one place, the cords keeping it down were cut, and there was blood. He called the police immediately, the man's son, Robert Duffy, told the Boston Globe. The man's name, who will surely be lauded as a hero, is currently unknown.
"A man had gone out of his house after being inside the house all day, abiding by our request to stay inside," Edward Davis, Boston police commissioner, explained after Dzhokhar's capture. "He walked outside and saw blood on a boat in the backyard. He then opened the tarp on the top of the boat, and he looked in and saw a man covered with blood. He retreated and called us."
Police responded within minutes. Gunfire was exchanged with the younger brother who had evaded police capture the night before. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old alleged accomplice, died during Thursday evening's standoff with police. Dzhokhar engaged in a roughly two hour firefight with police Friday evening before a hostage team entered the boat and capture him alive. He's now in serious condition at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the same hospital where his older brother was pronounced dead, under heavy security detail. Gov. Deval Patrick is "hoping very deeply he survives those wounds, because I’ve got a lot of questions and I know investigators have a lot of questions for him," he said late Friday evening.
The questions now move from who, to why. The motive for the attacks still remain unclear, though an image is beginning to emerge where the elder Tamerlan may have been the influencer. The New York Times reports the older brother was interviewed by the F.B.I. in 2011, at the request of an unnamed foreign country Tamerlan allegedly planned to travel to, to see if he had extremist ties. The foreign government "had something on him," a source told the Times, but requests from the F.B.I. to retrieve that evidence went unanswered. Their investigation didn't turn up any leads, the F.B.I. confirmed in a statement Friday.Tamerlan spent six months in Russia in 2012.
The investigation into what terrorist ties the two brothers may have will begin as soon as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is healthy enough to answer any questions. He was arrested last night under the "public safety" exception, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz confirmed, so he was not read his Miranda warning. That means he is technically "an enemy combatant" of the state for now. The Obama administration has expressed their desire, though, that he be tried as an American citizen.
For now, the city of Boston celebrates the end of its long nightmare. People poured into the streets late Friday, starting impromptu celebrations of Dzhokhar's capture, chanting "Boston strong" long into the night. Things will start to go back to normal again Saturday. The Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 12:30 p.m., and finally, after a long wait, the beloved Red Sox will return to Fenway Saturday against the Kansas City Royals at 1:10 p.m. City of Boston, no one is going to begrudge you if you take the day off to catch a hockey or a baseball game and have a drink or two on a Saturday afternoon after the week you've had. Enjoy it. Things are somewhat normal again.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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