Police used a robot, flashbangs, and a thermal camera to apprehend second Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday night, as Boston police recounted in a press conference shortly afterward. But it was a citizen’s alarming encounter with the suspect that proved to be the key in finding him.
As explained at the press conference, Tsarnaev had managed to elude police because he was slightly outside the search perimeter that law enforcement had set up. But all that changed when a local man stepped outside and noticed blood on the boat in his backyard. When he pulled back the tarp covering the boat, the homeowner “saw a man covered in blood” underneath, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
After the local man called 911, officers responded to Franklin Street. Law enforcement also dispatched a helicopter equipped with a thermal camera. Using the camera’s thermal imaging, they were able to confirm that there was a live body inside the boat.
As more and more officers swarmed the scene, they sent in a robot to pull off the tarp, to get a better look at the suspect, and perhaps to see if he might still be armed with explosives. With the tarp off, police tried to talk Tsarnaev out of the boat, but he was “uncommunicative,” the commissioner said. After throwing several flashbangs in an effort to stun him, they took the suspect shortly before 8:45 p.m. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said that it was not necessary to give him his Miranda warning immediately upon arrest, as there is a “public safety exemption in cases of national security.”
Tsarnaev did not have any explosives on him at the time he was captured, as the commissioner revealed at the press conference Friday night, though he said that “handmade hand grenades” and “improvised explosive devices” were thrown at police during the shootout on Thursday. It was also during that shootout that police believe that the suspect was wounded, and he was taken to the hospital in “serious” condition, the commisioner said.
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