It's Over: Boston PD Says Suspect is in Custody

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 19 2013 8:50 PM

It's Over: Boston PD Says Suspect is in Custody

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 5.05.25 AM
Police continue to search for Suspect 2 after a chaotic night

UPDATE: And it's over! The Boston Police Department has confirmed that the second bombing suspect has been taken into police custody.

Slate's Justin Peters reports from the scene that the crowd of bystanders that had gathered burst into cheers and applause upon learning the news. Later as an ambulance, presumably carrying 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, passed by accompanied by a police car, the crowd again burst into applause, this time accompanied by sustained and legitimate whooping and yelling.

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Men began passing out cigars, and someone could be heard saying gleefully: "Public drinking is allowed for tonight."

More from Peters:

It's like a Fourth of July parade here, except this time the people genuinely mean it when they're clapping for the cops. The police cars are leaving the area one by one. As they go, they drive through a gauntlet of people at the corner of Mt. Auburn and Kimball. A line of locals, most of whom appear to be wearing Boston sports apparel, stand on both sides applauding, clapping, and yelling. A guy in a Red Sox cap and Red Sox pullover, who looks like he may have already had a few celebratory drinks, speaks for the crowd: “Yeah, let’s go, baby! Yeah, Boston!”
There are two women applauding heartily, both wearing red. The first, who's wearing a Jason Varitek Red Sox T-shirt says, "They're amazing." The second: "Oh my God." The first replies: "Oh my God is right."
A man in a Bruins T-shirt and a backwards cap asks a state policeman if there's any way he can shake his hand. The cop pauses for a second, walks over to him, looks him in the eye, and salutes him. He then does the same to the man's friend.
"Boston proud! Boston stro-ong!" Bruins guy yells, eliciting roars of delight from about 150 people.
People are also chanting: "USA! USA! USA!"

The Boston Globe reports that Tsarnaev is currently being transported to a local Cambridge hospital, the same one where the transit police officer who was shot last night is currently recovering. NBC News is reporting that Tsarnaev is suffering from an unknown number of gunshot wounds.

The news brings an end to a week of uncertainty following Monday's twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The focus now will turn to the brothers' motivation.

*** ***** ***

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: More from Slate's Justin Peters, who is on the scene in Watertown, where the police standoff counties:

Local resident Judy Foley heard shots around 7 p.m.—one after another after another, in a staccato burst. Though the noise was not as alarming as the sounds from earlier in the morning, it was still enough to keep her on edge. "We have two dogs, and they had been inside all day," said Foley. Once authorities said it was safe to go outside, she decided to take them for a walk, though not without some concern. "I was a little apprehensive," she said. "And then I heard those shots, and I was like, Oh, great."
"It's surreal that this is happening here," she continued, noting that Watertown is an extremely quiet, unexciting place. Residents Elizabeth Savage and Justin Wiley reiterated that point. They, too, had been stuck inside all day; their one effort to venture outside did not fare well. "We tried to go out for a walk," said Wiley, but the helicopters unnerved them, and they went back in. Now, like many of their neighbors, they are standing as close as they can to the police tape at the corner of Mt. Auburn Street, hoping to see, or at least hear, some sort of closure to this extraordinary day.

*** ***** ***

UPDATE 8:01 p.m.: Perhaps Boston police aren't as stumped as they suggested at this evening's briefing. Shortly after Gov. Deval Patrick announced an end to a citywide lockdown, police are again telling Watertown residents to stay inside.

That news is being accompanied with reports of gunfire and a heavy police presence in the Boston suburb that has been the center of the search for the second marathon bombing suspect. The mayor of Boston tells local affiliate WBZ that a man, believed to be the 19-year-old suspect they have been searching for, is currently pinned down by police. The man is said to be in a boat that is sitting in a residential backyard. CBS News offers this satellite photo of what they say is the boat in question, although that remains unconfirmed.

Slate's Justin Peters is in Watertown, where he and most of the rest of the reporters on the scene are currently at the corner of Mt. Auburn and Kimball, which is as close as they can get at this point. He reports that in addition to the media, there are also a lot of local residents gawking from behind the barricade, either because they heard gunshots or because they went outside during the brief period when the shelter-in-place order was lifted.

Peters reports that additional cop cars are still arriving in the area where the suspect is reported to be hunkered down. The Cambridge Police Department just sent in its bomb squad truck, which Peters explains "may or may not mean anything—every truck from every police department in the state is being deployed here today."

*** ****** ***

Update 6:45 p.m.: A busy day of police searches in Boston neared an end Friday evening with the remaining marathon bombing suspect still at large, and police suggesting they're stumped as to his whereabouts.

"We do not have an apprehension of our suspect this afternoon, but we will have one," Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben promised the public at an evening briefing in Watertown, the Boston suburb where police spent much of the day going door-to-door in search of the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Gov. Deval Patrick told Boston residents that the voluntary citywide lockdown has been lifted and that public transit service will resume, although he cautioned that people should "remain vigilant."

Alben said that police don't have "direct knowledge" that Tsarnaev remains the greater Boston area, but that they "don't think he'd get much further." Police will continue to patrol the streets of Watertown in the days that come as they widen their search. "We are committed to seeing a conclusion to this case," Alben said at what was described as the final scheduled briefing of the day.

Police have declined to discuss the exact details of last night's car chase and gun fight that resulted in the death of the second suspect, Tsarnaev's 26-year-old brother. They did, however, clarify that their original suggestion that the brothers had robbed a 7-Eleven last night was wrong. They say that while a robbery did occur. It now appears more likely that the pair had simply stopped at around the same time for gas.


*** ***** ***

Update 1 p.m.: In a press conference, Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police announced that this afternoon there will be "a controlled explosion" on Norfolk Street in Cambridge "out of an abundance of caution" for the safety of law enforcement in the area. Alben also said his officers had finished going door to door in 60 to 70 percent of the neighborhood, and he added that he had "several other new leads that [have] just developed in the last few minutes." Alben promised to brief journalists on new leads "within an hour or slightly above that."

At the same press conference, Gov. Deval Patrick thanked Watertown residents for staying indoors and said "the stay-indoor request continues for the time being." Patrick urged residents to stay indoors and not open the door to anyone except for law enforcement officers. 

For more on how bomb technicians carry out "controlled explosions," see this Explainer from Tuesday.

*** ***** ***

Original Post 8:50 a.m.: For those of you who got some sleep last night, whoa, you missed a lot. Let's start with the major takeaway: One of the two men the FBI named as suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing is dead and police are currently going door-to-door searching for the second suspect, according to police.

The Washington Post and other outlets report that law enforcement authorities say the two suspects are brothers. The suspect still at large has been identified by police as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge. The other, who was killed overnight, was identified as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev. There is currently plenty of conflicting information out there about where the two are from originally, although most of the reporting suggests they came to the United States by way of Chechnya.

This morning's search began (and is still focused) in Watertown, but police are now asking all Boston-area residents to stay inside, effectively leaving the entire city in lockdown. City officials have suspended all transit services while the manhunt continues.

So how did we get to this point? A long and confusing night that began with the shooting of an MIT police officer that was then followed by a carjacking, a car chase, and a shootout with police, according to authorities. [Update: Police had originally said that the pair was responsible for a robbery at a 7-Eleven prior to the MIT shooting, however at a Friday press conference officials said that it now appears not to be the case.] In the process, a second police officer was seriously wounded, and the man being called Suspect 1 was critically wounded and later died at a local hospital.

In Watertown, residents reported hearing loud explosions, according to the New York Times. Dozens of police officers, meanwhile, descended on the Boston suburb, where many of them, the Boston Globe reports, "were screaming about improvised explosive devices." Confusion reigned as the night inched toward morning with—as has become all too common in this particular story—conflicting reports about how many people were in custody and whether they had any connection to the marathon bombing.

At one point, an unknown person of interest stripped naked—presumably at the request of police to ensure he was not carrying some type of explosives—and was captured on camera by CNN walking in police custody. It is unclear what, if any, connection that man had to the unfolding manhunt. CNN reports that he has since been released, although police have not yet commented about the man on the record.

Police have instructed residents of Watertown to remain inside this morning as officers continue to go door-to-door in pursuit of Suspect 2, the man who was wearing a white, backwards cap in the FBI photos released Thursday.

"We believe this to be a terrorist," a police spokesman told reporters at an early morning briefing that provided the first official confirmation that the night's activities were tied to the marathon attack. "We believe this to be a man who has come here to kill people."

Adding to the tension is the fact that police sources have suggested to CNN and other outlets that Suspect 2 may have explosives strapped to his body. The reason for that suspicion is tied to Suspect 1, who doctors said suffered injuries from both gunshots and some type of "explosive device."

Throughout the evening, the FBI continued to release additional photos of both suspects, including close-ups of their faces. The most recent photo of Suspect 2 comes from surveillance cameras at the 7-Eleven that was robbed (although apparently not by these suspects):

We'll continue to update with more information as it becomes available.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter, and read more on Slate about the Boston Marathon bombing.***

This post has been updated with additional information.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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