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

Marathon Bombings: Night of mayhem after suspects hijack car,kill policeman

Written by New York Times | Boston | Published: April 19, 2013 4:57 pm

KATHARINE Q SEELYE & MICHAEL COOPER

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.

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 elder,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.

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,the spokesman for Chechnyan leader Ramzan A Kadyrov,told Interfax news service that according to preliminary information,the Tsarnaevs “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”.

“In such a way,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.

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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