Boston cheers as chaos ends -- but questions, grief remain
POSTED: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 10:43am
UPDATED: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 12:47pm
(CNN) — Boston can finally rest.
After a five-day nightmare filled with tragedy and grief, fear and anxiety, one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is in custody. The other, his older brother, is dead. And residents across Massachusetts are cheering the efforts of law enforcement officers who ended a week of danger and fear.
For almost 24 hours on Friday, the cities of Cambridge, Watertown and Boston were paralyzed as authorities hunted for 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev -- a man not only suspected in the bombings, but whom authorities feared could unleash more explosives.
Tsarnaev will face federal terrorism charges and possibly murder charges on the state level, a Justice Department official told CNN on Saturday. The charges could be filed before Tsarnaev leaves the hospital, where he is recovering from serious injuries he may have received during a shootout with police.
Suspect curled up on a blood-stained boat
The dramatic end to the manhunt came when a Watertown man, cooped up in his house all day because of a "shelter in place" order, finally stepped outside when the order was lifted.
David Henneberry soon noticed the tarp covering the boat in his backyard was flapping in the wind and a retention strap was cut. He also noticed a small amount of blood on the tarp.
"He basically stuck his head under the tarp, noticed a pool of blood," Henneberry's stepson Robert Duffy told CNN.
Henneberry discovered a man curled up in a ball.
"And at that point he became an absolute hero. Instead of being a hero at the moment and yelling at what we now know was the suspect, he did the right thing as law enforcement had urged" and called 911, Duffy said.
Authorities arrived and evacuated Duffy's stepfather. Using a bullhorn, they called out to the suspect: "Come out with your hands up."
The bloodied man refused.
"We used a robot to pull the tarp off the boat," David Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police said. "We were also watching him with a thermal imaging camera in our helicopter. He was weakened by blood loss -- injured last night, most likely."
A gunfight ensued, with more than 20 rounds fired.
Authorities eventually rushed the boat and took Dzhokar Tsarnaev into custody.
24 hours of chaos
Shortly after the FBI released photos of the suspects Thursday night, Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, led authorities on a whirlwind manhunt.
Officials say the brothers, for no obvious reason, killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier while he was sitting in his car. The Tsarnaevs then hijacked a vehicle, telling the driver they were the marathon bombers, and hurled explosives at the pursuing officers, authorities said.
"There was an exchange of over 200 rounds of gunfire, there were improvised explosive devices, and handmade hand grenades thrown at the officers at the scene," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. "This is the stuff that in an urban police department, it's almost unheard of."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout. He was wearing explosives and a triggering device when he died, a source briefed on the investigation told CNN.
Over the course of Friday, the Boston area virtually shut down as federal, state and local authorities went door-to-door searching for Dzhokar Tsarnaev.
Spontaneous parades for police
The collective mood in the region turned from fear to cheers Friday night after Boston police sent out one tweet: "The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."
As local and federal authorities left their positions late Friday night, hundreds of residents swarmed the streets of Watertown and Boston, surrounding the cars and cheering them on.
"Every time a police car passed by, the cheering became louder, and a sense of respect and admiration was felt through the crowd," said Montana Fredrick, who joined a sea of other Northeastern University students in greeting the officers.
"I feel relieved, and I feel like everybody else is relieved," Berklee College of Music student Myles Marcus said. "I feel like I can go back to school now and know that I'm safe."
While many officers remained stoic, members of the Boston SWAT team responded to the crowds: "Thank you. Thank you. It was our pleasure," the team said over a loudspeaker.
But the celebrations were tempered by the deaths of four people this week, all allegedly by the hands of the Tsarnaev brothers.
Three spectators were killed in the marathon bombings and Collier, the MIT police officer, was fatally shot early Friday. At least 58 people remained hospitalized late Friday night, including three in critical condition, according to a CNN count.
The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the bombings, issued a statement thanking the authorities and members of the public who helped track down the two suspects.
"It worked, and tonight, our community is once again safe from these two men," the Richard family said.
"None of this will bring our beloved Martin back, or reverse the injuries these men inflicted on our family and nearly two hundred others. We continue to pray for healing and for comfort on the long road that lies ahead for every victim and their loved ones."
Obama and Republicans stand together
President Barack Obama united with Republicans on Saturday in condemning the violence that took place in Boston and praised the valor that ensued.
In his weekly radio address, Obama argued the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, which he described as an "act of terror," will not be remembered for the damage it caused but the "stories of heroism and kindness."
In the Republicans' address, Sen. Tim Scott, like Obama, praised first responders and cautioned those who would consider attacking the United States.
"There is no corner on Earth, no hiding place in America that will keep us from finding you," he said.
Scott said the United States "will do everything in our power to bring justice for the families and the communities impacted. Our freedom is our most precious possession. Any effort to take it away will only strengthen our determination."
The next phase: A hunt for a motive
Dzhokar Tsarnaev was in serious condition at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Saturday morning with law enforcement guarding the doors. His survival may give authorities a chance to figure out what motivated the bloody spree.
Tsarnaev's uncle Ruslan Tsarni called the brothers "losers" and said their alleged actions were abhorrent.
"You put a shame on our entire family -- the Tsarnaev family -- and you put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity," Tsarni said.
Tsarni promised Saturday to help his nephew seek forgiveness from the bombing victims and advised him to tell police everything he knows.
The brothers come from a family originally from the Russian republic of Chechnya and fled the brutal wars there in the 1990s. It's unknown how their Chechen roots may have influenced their alleged actions.
Tsarni said he believes Tamerlan Tsarnaev influenced his younger brother.
FBI agents interviewed the elder Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of a foreign government that suspected he had ties to extremist groups, the FBI said Friday. It declined to name the government.
The request was based on information that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam, the FBI said, adding it found no evidence of terrorism activity.
"I think unless we see some horrible dropping of the ball, I don't think this is an intelligence failure," said former CIA operative Robert Baer. "In retrospect, it might look like one, but I don't think it is."
The suspects' father, who lives in the Russian republic of Dagestan, told CNN on Saturday that he believes his sons were "never, ever" involved in the Boston attacks. He also said he plans to go to the United States, though he didn't say when.
As authorities try to pinpoint a motive, they're also trying to figure out whether the suspects had help from others.
There are legal questions, too. The government is invoking the public safety exception, a designation that allows investigators to question Dzhokar Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights, a Justice Department official told CNN on condition of anonymity.
It means Tsarnaev may be questioned without a lawyer, which some legal analysts say should not be allowed.