2 Chechen brothers ‘bombed Boston’,1 shot,1 on the run

Marathon Bombing: Men hijack car,kill cop; massive hunt for surviving suspect

Written by New York Times | Boston | Published: April 20, 2013 3:44 am


One of two suspects in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings was killed early Friday after leading the police on a wild chase after the fatal shooting of a campus police officer. The second was sought in an immense manhunt that shut down large parts of the area (and which was ongoing until after midnight in India on Friday).

Law enforcement officials identified the suspects as brothers of Chechen origin. The younger of the two,who is on the run,was identified as Dzhokhar A Tsarnaev,19,of Cambridge,Massachusetts; the older,who was killed,as Tamerlan Tsarnaev,26. Authorities were investigating whether the dead man had a homemade bomb strapped to his body when he was shot,two law enforcement officials said.

The manhunt for the surviving suspect sent the Boston region into the grip of a security emergency: residents of the city and the surrounding area were urged to stay indoors,as hundreds of police officers conducted a manhunt and all public transit services were suspended.

Col. Timothy P Alben of Massachusetts State Police said investigators believed that the Tsarnaev brothers were responsible for the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer,and the shooting of an officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority,the region’s transit authority.

“We believe these are the same individuals that were responsible for the bombing on Monday at the Boston Marathon,” he said.

Chechnya,a predominantly Muslim territory in southern Russia,sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union,and fought two bloody wars with Moscow. Russian assaults on Chechnya killed tens of thousands of civilians,as Chechnyan terrorist groups staged attacks in central Russia. Most separatist militant groups are now underground,and their leaders have embraced fundamentalist Islam.

The Tsarnaev family lived briefly in Makhachkala,the capital of Dagestan,near Chechnya,before moving to the US,said a school administrator there. Irina V Bandurina,secretary to the director of School No. 1,said the family — parents,two boys and two girls — which had lived in Kyrgyzstan previously,left for the US in 2002.

One law enforcement official said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded,and two other officials said the authorities had tracked him at some point during the manhunt by his blood trail.

The uncle of the brothers,Ruslan Tsarni,who lives in Montgomery Village,Maryland,told reporters that he was ashamed of their actions,bitterly calling them “losers”,and sternly denouncing the bombings. And he urged the surviving brother to turn himself into the authorities.

“I say Dzhokhar,if you’re alive,turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness,” said Tsarni,who said that his family had been estranged from theirs,and that their father,who recently moved back to Russia,had worked “fixing cars” in America.

Tsarni said Tamerlan was born in Kyrgyzstan and Dzhokhar in Dagestan,and that he had seen his nephews last in December 2005.

One law enforcement official said Tamerlan had travelled to Russia last year and returned six months later. It was unclear if he had spent the entire time in Russia,the official said.

In 2003,the older brother had travelled to Turkey,the Turkish interior minister,Muammer Guler,confirmed. He had gone there with three others carrying the same surname,and left the country 10 days later from Ankara,Anatolian News Agency reported.

A former schoolmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts described him as “very sweet”,adding,“I never heard anyone say a bad word about him.”

Another,Meron Woldemariam,17,the manager of the school volleyball team that Dzhokhar had played for,said that he had left the team in the middle of the season to wrestle. She described him as sociable,friendly and fun to talk to. He was a senior when she was a freshman.

Tamerlan,the older brother,left a record on YouTube of his favourite clips,which included Russian rap videos,and as testimonial from a young ethnic Russian man titled “How I accepted Islam and became a Shiite”,and a clip,“Seven Steps to Successful Prayer”.

Alvi Karimov,spokesman for the Chechen leader Ramzan A Kadyrov,told Interfax news service that the brothers’ family “moved to a different region of the Russian Federation from Chechnya many years ago” before living “for a long time” in Kazakhstan,from where they moved to the US,“where the members of the family received residency permits”.

“…The figures who are being spoken about did not live in Chechnya at a mature age,and if they became ‘bad guys’,then this is a question that should be put to the people who raised them,” Karimov said.

(Kadyrov himself took to Instagram to make the point that the US must look within for the “roots of evil”,several news web sites reported. A Google translation of his post read,“Tragic events took place in Boston… We have previously expressed condolences to the people of the city and the people of America. Today,as reported by the media,while trying to arrest a Tsarnaea was killed. It would be logical if he was detained and investigated,found all the circumstances and the degree of his guilt… Any attempt to make the connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevymi if they are guilty,(will be) in vain. They grew up in the United States,their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America…”)

The police’s pursuit of the suspects began after 10 pm on Thursday (7.30 am in India Friday) after the two men robbed a 7-Eleven near Central Square in Cambridge. A security camera caught a man identified as one of the suspects wearing a grey hooded shirt.

About half an hour later,police received reports that Sean Collier,a campus security officer at MIT,had been shot and,thereafter,of an armed carjacking of a Mercedes SUV by two men. Collier was pronounced dead in hospital; the carjacking victim was released uninjured later.

As officers chased the vehicle,“explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects,” the police said in a statement,adding that they had exchanged gunfire with the suspects in the area of Dexter Avenue and Laurel Street.

Watertown resident Andrew Kitzenberg,29,said he looked out of his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police SUV “drove towards the shooters”,he said,and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control,Kitzenberg said,and crashed into two cars in his driveway.

The two shooters,he said,had a large,unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker”.

“They lit it,still in the middle of the gunfire,and threw it,” he said. “But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded,he said,and one man ran towards the gathered police officers. He was tackled,but it was not clear if he was shot,Kitzenberg said.

The other man,Kitzenberg said,got back into the SUV,turned it towards officers,and “put the pedal to the metal”. The car “went right through the cops,broke right through and continued west,” he said.

The two men left “a few backpacks right by the car,and there is a bomb robot out there now,” he said.

During this exchange,an MBTA police officer was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital. At the same time,Tamerlan Tsarnaev was critically injured with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston,where he was pronounced dead at 1.35 am,officials said.

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