Carjacking Victim Says Brothers Spared Him Because He "Wasn't American"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 22 2013 12:44 PM

Boston Carjacking Victim Says Tsarnaev Brothers Spared Him Because He "Wasn't American"

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A SWAT team member is followed by reporters and a celebrating crowd after the successful operation to capture 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Of the many questions still unanswered from last week's manhunt that ultimately ended with one of the Boston bombing suspects in custody and the other one dead is why the Tsarnaev brothers decided to spare the life of the man they carjacked and held hostage while trying to escape police. A portion of the police report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal suggests an answer: Because the driver wasn't American, at least in the eyes of the two suspects:

The victim told police he was driven to a Shell Gas Station on Memorial Drive in Watertown. Inside the car, the brothers "declared to [the victim] that they were the Boston Marathon bombers and would not kill him because he wasn't American," the report said. When the victim saw an opportunity to flee, he ran to a nearby gas station where he asked the owner to call 911, the report said.
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The unnamed victim spoke with NBC News this morning and confirmed the story, while also describing Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as "brutal and cautious." The brothers allegedly stole the victim's Mercedes SUV at gunpoint late Thursday, less than an hour after they allegedly shot and killed a MIT police officer in Cambridge. According to the police report, one of the brothers—it hasn't been specified which one—got into the SUV at about 11 p.m. in Boston's Brighton neighborhood, and at gunpoint ordered the man to drive him to Watertown. He was followed by the other brother in a second car, a Honda Civic, according to police. According to the victim, at some point while in Watertown he saw his chance to flee and ran to a nearby gas station where he asked the owner to call 911.

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

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

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