Transcript: Press conference Q&A on the capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect in Watertown – April 19, 2013

Partial transcript of press conference Q&A with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben on the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old Cambridge man suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, in Watertown on April 19, 2013:

Question:
How did the events transpire at the boat?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
There was a call that came in to the Watertown Police. Three Boston officers along with state troopers and FBI agents responded to Franklin Street.

A man had gone out of his house after being inside the house all day abiding by our request to stay inside. He walked outside and he 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.

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. 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.

Question:
Can you talk about the imperative of taking him alive. How much…?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
We always want to take all of the suspects alive.

Question:
I understand that. Can you talk about it with this particular individual? You talked about accountability. Can you talk about why you’d want to take him…?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
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.

Question:
[Overlapping audio]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
There was – the hostage rescue team actually did work in trying to negotiate him out of that boat. They did try to talk him out although from what I understand he was not communicative.

Question:
[Overlapping audio]…has he aided and abetted the suspect?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
Actually, I don’t have that information.

Question:
…That you’ve got your guy…that this is it?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
I think that based upon our investigation at this point in time, citizens in the City of Boston and this area can be confident that the threat has been removed.

Question:
[Overlapping audio]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
Suspect is in serious condition at the hospital.

Question:
…he didn’t rob the 7-11 so how did you know that they were there at the same time?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
The suspects came to our attention after a vicious assassination of a police officer at MIT and the subsequent robbery that occurred when we got videotape from a gas station, the robbery was actually a carjacking. The car was taken from the scene. And officers engaged that car from the Watertown Police Department along with other officers. We were then able to put the case together.

Question:
…When you were apprehending him at the boat, was he shot by police officers?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
The man who found him at the boat said that he was covered with blood. We assume that those injuries occurred the evening before. There was an exchange of gunfire at the boat. I don’t know if he was struck.

Question:
…another bomb?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
There was a house in New Bedford that the hostage rescue team went into for the FBI because we felt that it was important for the investigation but the suspect was not found.

Question:
[Inaudible]…MIT Officer Collier…?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
My assessment of that particular incident is that he was assassinated in his cruiser.

Question:
And do you know what he was doing?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
He was responding to a call for a disturbance.

Question:
Given that he was out there, still armed, was it a mistake to give the all-clear and let people go outside? Could they have been at risk?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
We certainly did not give an all-clear. We made it clear that people – and Colonel Alben was here and spoke very eloquently to this. This was a very serious and dangerous situation. We had no information that the suspect was still holed up in this particular area. He managed to elude us by being just slightly outside of the perimeter that we set up.

But in truth, we told everybody that this was a dangerous situation and they should be cautious. This is a very dangerous time in the world. We have to use caution. That’s what we asked people to do.

Thankfully the man who found the suspect called us right away. Did the right thing. Got on 9-1-1. We were able to come in and take care of the situation.

Question:
[Inaudible]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
There’s no report of explosives with him at capture. But I got to tell you I was at the scene last night just after this incident occurred. 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. This is the stuff that in an urban police department is almost unheard of. So these officers acted heroically, courageously. They protected the community and they protected each other when they responded to this scene.

I’m so proud of the actions of the Watertown Police, State Police, the Boston Police. It’s been an incredible team.

Question:
[Overlapping audio]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
He did – uh – you know what, I can’t say. I was told that there was an exchange of gunfire. I was not there when he was taken out of the boat.

Question:
…no Miranda warning…?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
Actually, the United States Attorney may want or the FBI may want to explain that. It’s a federal issue.

Question:
…there was no Miranda warning given to him, claiming a public safety exemption…?

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz:
There is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and potential charges involving acts of terrorism, and so government has that opportunity right now. Though I believe the suspect has been taken to a hospital. So we’ll start with there.

Question:
Will you seek the federal death penalty?

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz:
You know, what I indicated earlier is that this is still an active, ongoing investigation. We’re going to be reviewing all of the evidence before that kind of a decision is made in terms of whether or not to seek the death penalty. You review all of the evidence and it’s a very thoughtful long process that is engaged, and it’s the Attorney General of the Department of Justice that makes that final decision.

Question:
…What happened when you were on the scene? Was he moving around? How did you know there was a finally a chance to take him into custody?

State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben:
We know he didn’t go straight to the boat. When we set up the perimeter with the best intentions, with a lot of information, that we found blood in the car that he abandoned, we found blood behind a house inside the perimeter, so we had no information that he had gotten outside of the perimeter.

As we said, it was very chaotic early this morning. We had to aid a police officer that was shot, bleeding. So there was a lot of things going on. We thought we got the perimeter solid and we pretty much did that but we were about 1 block away. But he had to be moving a little bit after he was behind a house for a period of time that we know.

Question:
How did you know that you could take him into custody? Had he been moving around? Were you able to watch him?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
The reason that we knew this is – our helicopter had actually detected the subject and the boat. We had what was called the FLID – a Forward-Looking Infrared Device on that helicopter. It picked up that heat signature of the individual even though he was underneath what appeared to be the shrinkwrap or cover on the boat itself. And there was movement from that point on and the helicopter was able to direct the tactical teams to that area and ultimately take him into custody.

Question:
[Inaudible]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
Yeah, it was outside the perimeter during the day so it was not…This was the act of a citizen that went out and discovered this individual in the boat and ultimately called the Watertown Police Department and resulted in this – our response.

Question:
Is there a chance the suspect won’t make it?

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:
I don’t know. I did not see him when he was taken into custody. I know he’s in serious condition but I don’t know to what extent.

###

Learn More: