Dzhokhar Tsarnaev May Have Killed His Brother

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 20 2013 2:58 PM

Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev May Have Killed His Brother

Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau spoke to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Saturday and offered up the most detailed account yet of the manhunt of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, recounting details of both the Thursday night firefight and the final capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown on Friday night. Deveau reveals several interesting details that make clear just how harrowing the manhunt truly was and how surprising it is that there weren’t more fatalities.

On Thursday night, one officer encountered the two cars being driven by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The officer was instructed to wait for backup but before it arrived, the brothers jumped out of the cars and started shooting at his car. The five other officers arrived and an intense firefight ensued. “We estimate there was over 200 shots fired in a five- to 10-minute period," Deveau said. And it wasn’t just bullets. The brothers also threw explosives at the officers, including a pressure cooker bomb.

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At one point Tamerlan started walking directly toward the police while shooting, and when he ran out of ammunition an officer used the opportunity to tackle him. But when officers were handcuffing him in the middle of the street they suddenly realized a black SUV driven by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was coming right for them. The officers “dive out of the way, and he drives over his brother and drags him a short distance down the street."

Then on Friday, when police got the tip that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding in a boat in Watertown, there was another exchange of gunfire before police got the suspect to surrender. “It was back and forth,” Deveau said when asked who was firing the shots that reporters at the scene heard. “My understanding, yes—he was firing.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.