Boston Marathon bombing suspect captured alive after leaving a trail of bloodshed in Cambridge, Watertown

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old Cambridge man who is suspected of planting a bomb at the Boston Marathon, was taken into custody tonight after he was found hiding in a boat behind a house on Franklin Ave. in Watertown, Mass. He was injured and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where authorities said he was listed in “serious” condition.

Dzhokhar and 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, are suspected by federal investigators of carrying out Monday’s bombings that killed 3 people – including an 8-year-old Dorchester boy – and injured more than 170 people, many requiring amputations.

Dzhokar’s capture ended a harrowing 24-hour manhunt during which residents of Watertown, Cambridge, Boston, and three nearby cities were ordered to stay indoor while police searched door-to-door for the suspect.

MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on April 19, 2013. SOURCE: Boston Police

MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on April 19, 2013. SOURCE: Boston Police

Police began pursuing Dzhokhar and Tamerlan after they ambushed and killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge late Thursday night. Officer Sean Collier, 26, was responding to a disturbance call when was shot multiple times inside his car; he was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The shooting took place just hours after the FBI released photos of the brothers carrying heavy backpacks near the marathon finish line; Dzhokhar was seen leaving his backpack by the patio of the Forum Restaurant on Boylston Street just minutes before the bomb blast.

After shooting Collier, the duo then carjacked a vehicle, triggering a pursuit that led police to Watertown. (The driver of that car was released unharmed.)

There, the Tsarnaev brothers waged a fierce gun battle with police.

“There was an exchange of over 200 rounds of gunfire. There were improvised explosive devices and handmade hand grenades that were thrown at the officers at the scene,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

MBTA police officer Richard H. Donohue, 33, was gravely wounded in the assault; he was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital where he was listed in serious condition after surgery.

At one point, Tamerlan, the older brother, unsuccessfully charged at police officers. Seeing Tamerlan apprehended, Dzhokhar drove off – reportedly running over his brother – but abandoned the car a short distance away and fled on foot.

Meanwhile, Tamerlan, who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds, was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

SOURCE: Boston Police via Facebook

SOURCE: Boston Police via Facebook

Shortly after Dzhokar’s escape, police established a 20-block perimeter in Watertown and ordered residents to stay in their homes and lock their doors while police searched door-to-door for the suspect.

By sunrise, nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers – ranging from the Boston Police, State Police, FBI, ATF, and many others – converged on the quiet suburb of Watertown to help with the search.

Early Friday morning, the state had suspended all public transit services, including the MBTA and Amtrak, closed all vehicle traffics in and out of Watertown, imposed a “stay indoors” order for residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, and Boston, and asked businesses to stay closed while Dzhokhar remained at large.

The news appeared glum late afternoon when state officials lifted the “stay indoors” order even though the 20-block perimeter search had failed to turn up Dzhokar, suggesting that the suspect may have slipped out of the Watertown area despite the massive police presence.

“We are confident that we’ve done what we can do here in this particular neighborhood in terms of our search, and unfortunately, that was not fruitful,” Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben told reporters at the 6 p.m. briefing. “In terms of where he is at this point, we cannot continue to lock down an entire city or an entire state…But we are re-doubling our efforts and we are as committed as we were this morning towards apprehending him.”

But within minutes after the “stay indoors” order was lifted, a resident on Franklin Street – an area just outside of the 20-block perimeter – walked outside to his backyard and noticed blood stains on his boat.

“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,” said Davis. “Thankfully the man who found the suspect called us right away. Did the right thing. Got on 9-1-1.”

Shortly after the Boston Police, FBI, and State Police arrived on Franklin Street, gun shots rang out as Dzhokhar fired on police.

“We set up a perimeter around that boat and over the course of the next hour or so, we exchanged gunfire with the suspect who was inside the boat,” said Davis.

Residents on Franklin Street were evacuated; law enforcement officers were seeing carrying children, unharmed, away from the scene.

Davis emphasized that law enforcement officers went through great lengths to capture Dzhokhar alive.

“We always want to take somebody alive so that we can find out what happened, why it happened, and we can hold them for justice,” said Davis.

Later on, loud bangs were heard in the area, ostensibly from non-lethal stun grenades used to force Dzhokhar to leave the boat. Davis added that the FBI’s hostage rescue team even tried to “negotiate [Dzhokar] out of that boat” but he was “not communicative.”

Photo of the boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid. The photo was taken by the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing during Watertown manhunt on April 19, 2013. SOURCE: Massachusetts State Police via Twitter

Photo of the boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid. The photo was taken by the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing during Watertown manhunt on April 19, 2013. SOURCE: Massachusetts State Police via Twitter

Davis said police also used helicopters equipped with infrared devices, which picked up the heat signature of Dzhokhar hiding underneath the boat’s cover, to inform the officers on the ground of Dzhokar’s movements.

“There was movement from that point on and the helicopter was able to direct the tactical team to that area,” said Davis. “And ultimately, the hostage rescue team of the FBI made an entry into the boat and removed the suspect, who was still alive, in the boat.”

Dzhokhar appeared to be unconscious when officers retrieved him. He was bleeding but Davis said it was unclear whether Dzhokar’s wounds were from the previous night’s shootout or if he was also struck by the gunfire at the boat.

At 8:50 p.m. EST, Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted, “We got him” and told officers on the police radio, “Your mayor is very proud of you”. Minutes later, Boston Police tweeted “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

“On behalf of Krystle [Campbell], Martin [Richard], and Lingzi [Lu], on behalf of the MIT officer [Sean Collier] who was lost last night and the transit police officer [Richard Donohue] who was injured, on behalf of the hundreds of people who were hurt by the explosions at the marathon, I want to say how grateful I am to the Colonel [Timothy Alben], to the Special Agent in Charge Rick DesLauriers, to all of the law enforcement who worked so well and so hard together to get – to bring us to tonight’s conclusion,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “It’s a night where I think we’re all going to rest easy.”

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