1 Marathon Bomb Suspect Dead; Hunt On For Other

By April 19, 2013NPR News
Police officers search a street near Watertown, Mass. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Police officers search a street near Watertown, Mass. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

(We most recently updated this post at 11:07 a.m. ET. See this note about how we cover news such as this.)

One of the two young men suspected in the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon was reported to be dead after a gun exchange early Friday with police in Watertown, Mass. Authorities said the other suspect was at large and were warning people in the area to stay inside as officers conducted a door-to-door search of the area. The two suspects, authorities tell NPR and other news outlets, were brothers from Chechnya.

At mid-morning, there was a heavy police presence around one neighborhood in Watertown and authorities were heard telling someone to “come out” of a building. But it was not clear whether the fugitive was inside. And authorities said they were searching for a gray, 1999 Honda CRV with Massachusetts licence plates 316-ES9.

The dramatic series of events began to unfold late Thursday, with a robbery at a convenience store in Cambridge, Mass., and the shooting death of a police officer on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Minutes later, officials say, an SUV was carjacked in Cambridge. At least one other police officer was shot and wounded early Friday.

That SUV was driven to Watertown. There, authorities say, the suspects threw explosives at police and exchanged gunfire. One of the two — known as “black hat” for the cap he was seen wearing at the marathon — was critically injured and later died. The other, “white hat,” fled the area and was being sought.

We’re following the story and updating as news comes in.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. UMass Campus In Dartmouth Being Evacuated:

“UMass Dartmouth is closed and is in the process of a controlled evacuation of the campus. Students, staff and faculty have been asked to leave campus in a calm and orderly fashion. This action is in response to information that the person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing is a registered student. State, local, and campus police are on campus to assist with the evacuation and to conduct a full investigation.” The school is located 60 miles south of Boston, near New Bedford, Mass.

Update at 11:12 a.m. ET. Scene May Involve Possible Accomplice, Not The Suspect:

CNN reports it has been told by law enforcement sources that the latest area of Watertown where police have brought in heavy forces and have asked the media to move back is where a possible accomplice of the suspects is located — not fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Update at 11:07 a.m. ET. Father Says Fugitive Son Is “A True Angel”:

Reached by telephone in the Russian city of Makhachkala, Anzor Tsarnaev has told The Associated Press that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is “a true angel.”

“He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here,” the father also said.

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET. Taxi Service Restored In City:

Earlier Friday, officials told taxis to stay off the streets of Boston. Boston Police now say taxi service has been restored.

Update at 10:47 a.m. ET. Another Ramping Up Of Police Activity In Watertown:

Reporters have been told for at least the second time today to move back from a neighborhood in Watertown. TV images show that police have their weapons drawn.

Update at 10:42 a.m. ET. Vehicle Found, It Was Unoccupied:

Boston police follow up with this message: “UPDATE: Vehicle (MA Plate: 316-ES9) found unoccupied. Car being processed for evidence by authorities.”

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET. Police Are Looking For A Honda CRV With Massachusetts Plates.

Boston Police just posted this message on Twitter:

“#WANTED: Police seeking MA Plate: 316-ES9, ’99 Honda CRV, Color – Gray. Possible suspect car. Do not approach. pic.twitter.com/11eRTJdtaZ.”

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET. How Did “A Beautiful, Beautiful Boy” Get Involved?

“It’s stunning,” WBUR host Robin Young says of hearing that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is the fugitive who’s suspected of being one of the young men who planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon and now of being involved in deadly gun battles with police. “I had the prom party for that class in my back yard,” she says of Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School students, who included Tsarnaev and Young’s nephew Zolan.

The fugitive, she says, was “the light of the party … a beautiful, beautiful boy.” But when she saw the photo released early Friday of a suspect robbing a convenience story, she could tell it was him. Young’s family has known Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since he was a young high school student and she saw “no sign of this … no sign.”

Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. “I’m Shocked,” Says Friend Of Fugitive:

If anyone says that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s “character, attitude … or activities that he did daily” would have indicated he was likely to bomb the marathon or engage in shootouts with police, “they’re absolutely lying,” says a friend of the fugitive. Zolan Young, nephew of WBUR’s Robin Young, spoke with Morning Edition moments ago. He’s known Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since they were both in high school.

“I can’t emphasize how much a courteous guy he was,” Zolan Young said. “This was someone that I could always count on.” The last time Young heard from Tsarnaev was during this year’s Super Bowl, when Tsarnaev texted him to ask if Young was having a party.

“I’m shocked,” said Zolan Young. “This is one of my friends.”

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. Who Are These Brothers? Some Clues On Social Media:

As people search for information about the suspects, they’re coming on some interesting material on social media sites. Bear in mind: It will be hours, if not days, before material on such sites can be verified. One that’s getting particular attention: This photo gallery of a young man identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspect who died after a gun fight with police. This caption is under one photo: “Originally from Chechnya, but living in the United States since five years, Tamerlan says: ‘I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.’ ” There’s a page reported to be about Djohar Tsarnaev here (we’re seeing his named spelled as “Dzhokhar” in other places).

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET. Suspects’ Uncle Says “They Do Not Deserve To Live On This Earth”:

WBZ-TV has spoken with Ruslan Tsarni, identified as the suspects’ uncle, who says of his nephew Tamerlan’s death, “he deserved his.” Tsarni added that “they do not deserve to live on this earth.”

According to the uncle, the young men were born in Kyrgyzstan.

Update at 9 a.m. ET. Suspect May Not Want To Be Taken Alive:

A law enforcement source of NPR’s Carrie Johnson tells her that his agency increasingly believes that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect who police are searching for, is acting in a way that indicates he does not want to be taken alive.

Update at 8:44 a.m. ET. Reports That Police Are Using Loudspeakers To Tell Someone To “Come Out”:
There’s a heavy concentration of police activity now in one part of Watertown (all the news networks are broadcasting live from the scene). Reporters at the scene say they’ve heard police use loudspeakers to tell someone to come out of a building. News crews have been told by police to move back from the area. A local Fox News cameraman reports hearing police use a loudspeaker to say, “Give yourself up, come out, come out.”

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET. Suspect Had “Multiple Traumatic Injuries”:

When he heard gunshots and explosions overnight, Dr. David Schoenfeld of Beth Israel Hospital tells Morning Edition, he went to the hospital. Soon after, an injured man — the bombing suspect now identified as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was brought in. He had “multiple traumatic injuries,” Schoenfeld says, from “bullet wounds or shrapnel.” Doctors worked to keep him alive, but it was quickly apparent that their efforts would not be successful.

Update at 8:25 a.m. ET. Fugitive Drove Toward Police, Made Escape:

The suspect who authorities are searching for apparently made his escape by driving the stolen SUV straight at police and forcing his way through, NPR’s Tom Gjelten reported on Morning Edition.

Update at 8:02 a.m. ET. Entire City Told To “Shelter In Place”:

The “shelter-in-place” advisory has been extended to the entire city of Boston as well as such suburbs as Watertown and nearby communities, Boston Police Chief Ed Davis just told reporters. There are about 4.5 million people in the Boston metropolitan area.

Update at 7:56 a.m. ET. Buses Being Used To Bring More Police Officers To Scene:

With mass transit in and around Boston shut down while the search for the suspect continues, NPR’s Jeff Brady reports from Watertown that buses are being used to bring more police officers to help in the manhunt.

Update at 7:55 a.m. ET. Officials Name Dead Suspect:

NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston tells Morning Edition that National Security Council officials say the dead suspect was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who as we reported earlier is said to be the older brother of the young man who is still on the run. Authorities say the brothers are from Chechnya.

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET. Dead Suspect Reported To Be Older Brother:

The New York Times says the suspect who was killed is 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev. NPR has not independently confirmed that name.

Update at 7:30 a.m. ET. Arrest Of Third Person:

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.

Update at 7:15 a.m. ET. Nearly 400,000 People Staying Inside:

The scope of Friday’s events is captured in this information from NBC News:

“Roughly 381,000 people are sheltering in place as ordered by police in Massachusetts.”

Update at 6:59 a.m. ET. Reports On Suspects’ Identities:

The Associated Press and NBC News minutes ago reported being told by sources that authorities think they have determined the identities of the two bombing suspects, and that they are brothers. NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston checked with her law enforcement sources as well and is being told that the suspects are from Chechnya and that the suspect who is on the loose is 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev.

Update at 6:35 a.m. ET. “Please Go Home,” City Asks Residents:

“With MBTA suspended, please do not congregate at stations and bus stops. Please go home,” the city of Boston says on its official Twitter page.

Update at 6:20 a.m. ET. Recapping The News.

WBUR, which is live blogging, sums up what’s happened in the past 12 hours or so this way:

– After 10 p.m. last night, a robbery took place at a 7-Eleven in Cambridge
– After that, an MIT police officer was fatally shot, allegedly by the two marathon suspects
– There was a carjacking in Cambridge involving the two suspects taking a Mercedes SUV
– The car was discovered by police in Watertown, which led to an exchange of gunfire
– During the chase, explosive devices were reportedly thrown from the suspects’ car
– During the exchange, one suspect was killed
– Also during the exchange of gunfire, an MBTA officer was shot and is in critical condition
– The second suspect fled and is at-large
– There’s an active search for the suspect who fled, the FBI’s bombing “white hat suspect”

Update at 6:05 a.m. ET. Watertown, Surrounding Area Shut Down; Mass Transit Closed:

Police have locked down several neighborhoods in Boston and its western suburbs — Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit was shut down.

Classes at MIT and Harvard have also been cancelled for Friday, the universities announced.

Update at 5:05 a.m. ET. Boston Police Commissioner’s Statement On Death Of Suspect.

The Boston Police Department has put this message on its Twitter page: “Per Commissioner Davis: One suspect deceased, 2nd suspect (white hat) at large & considered armed & dangerous.”

Update at 4:45 a.m. ET. “Black Hat” Is Dead, Officials Say:

The bombing suspect known as “black hat” for the color of the cap he was seen wearing at the marathon was killed in the exchange of gunfire with police in Watertown, sources with knowledge of the events tell NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston.

Update at 4:35 a.m. ET. Prosecutor’s Account Of The Events.

“From the Middlesex County DA’s Office:

“Police are investigating a fatal shooting of MIT campus police officer by two men who then committed an armed carjacking in Cambridge, Middlesex Acting District Attorney Michael Pelgro, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas, and MIT Police Chief John DiFava announced this evening.

“At approximately 10:20 p.m. April 18, police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. At 10:30 p.m., an MIT campus police officer was found shot in his vehicle in the area of Vassar and Main streets. According to authorities, the officer was found evidencing multiple gunshot wounds.

“He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced deceased.

“Authorities launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the shooting. The investigation determined that two males were involved in this shooting.

“A short time later, police received reports of an armed carjacking by two males in the area of Third Street in Cambridge. The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two males and was kept in the car with the suspects for approximately a half hour. The victim was released at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. He was not injured.

“Police immediately began a search for the vehicle and were in pursuit of the vehicle into Watertown.

“At that time, explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects. The suspects and police also exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter and Laurel streets. During this pursuit, an MBTA Police officer was seriously injured and transported to the hospital.

“During the pursuit, one suspect was critically injured and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An extensive manhunt is ongoing in the Watertown area for the second suspect, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.”
Update at 4:20 a.m. ET. Authorities Say 1 Suspect Is Dead, Other Is At Large:

Col. Timothy P. Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, just told reporters that after the shooting at MIT, an SUV was hijacked in Cambridge, Mass. Police in Watertown pursued the vehicle. Explosives were thrown from that SUV and shots were exchanged.

The district attorney in Middlesex County, Mass., has released a statement saying that “one suspect was critically injured and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

The other suspect is said to be at large and authorities have released a photo of him. The state police say he resembles “suspect No. 2” in the bombings.

Update at 4 a.m. ET. Too Soon To Say For Sure If There’s A Connection:

A source with knowledge of the situation tells NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston that the situation is fluid and that it’s too soon to say for certain whether or not the individuals involved in the events that began at MIT and have extended into Watertown are related to the marathon bombings.

Update at 3:55 a.m. ET. Residents Warned To Stay Inside; Door-To-Door Search Expected.

The Massachusetts State Police have posted these messages on Twitter:

— “Residents in and around Watertown should stay in their residences. Do NOT answer door unless it is an identified police officer.”

— “If any concerns about someone at door, call 911 immediately. Repeat—Do not answer door, stay away from windows, keep doors locked.”

— “Police will be going door by door, street by street, in and around Watertown. Police will be clearly identified. It is a fluid situation.”

Update at 3:50 a.m. ET. From The Associated Press:

“The chaos in Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston, occurred just hours after a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was shot and killed on campus. It was unclear if the outbursts of violence were related. …

“The officer had been responding to report of a disturbance Thursday night when he was shot multiple times, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney’s office and Cambridge police. It said there were no other victims.

“Meanwhile, in Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.”

Note: As happens when stories such as this are developing, there will likely be reports that turn out to be mistaken. Wednesday, for example, there were reports from CNN, the AP, WBUR and others that authorities either had arrested a suspect or were about to do that. It turned out that no one had been arrested or taken into custody. We will focus on news being reported by NPR, other news outlets with expertise, and statements from authorities who are in a position to know what’s going on. And if some of that information turns out to be wrong, we’ll update.

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