Mayor Menino rejects idea of burying Marathon bomb suspect in Boston; urges body be sent to Russia
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino will not allow the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be buried in the city, his spokeswoman said this afternoon.
“It would be disrespectful to our residents to accommodate this individual,” said Dot Joyce, Menino’s press secretary.
Instead, the mayor is recommending that Tsarnaev’s family return the body to his native Russia, in accordance with his mother’s wishes, Joyce said. Burying the body in Boston, she added, would run counter to municipal protocol because Tsarnaev never lived in the city.
“We’re not involved in this person’s life at all,” Joyce said.
The mayor, she noted, has not been asked to provide a burial plot for Tsarnaev, 26, a Cambridge resident who is suspected with his brother of detonating two bombs near the Marathon finish line April 15 that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Tsarnaev’s body has been held at a Worcester funeral home since Friday, while a funeral director searches for a cemetery that will accept the body. A Worcester police spokesman said today that officials are optimistic that within the next few days, a place will be found.
Police Chief Gary Gemme met today with Tsarnaev’s uncle and Peter Stefan, the owner of the funeral home where the body has lain since Friday, said Sergeant Kerry Hazelhurst, a police spokesman.
“They’re quite confident that there will be a conclusion to settle this matter within the next couple of days,” he said. “The chief’s function today was to get the parties involved to meet, discuss, and try to find a solution to the problem.”
“I think all options are on the table right now” for a place to bury Tsarnaev, Hazelhurst said.
He said he didn’t think that the funeral home owner was limiting his search for a burial spot to Massachusetts. Several cemeteries have already rejected the request to bury Tsarnaev’s remains.
“I don’t think he’s going to specifically target Massachusetts. I think he’s just trying to reach out to anybody anywhere,” Hazelhurst said.
Tsarnaev’s body was released last Thursday by the state medical examiner. It was first taken to a North Attleborough funeral home, then to the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester. It has been 18 days since Tsarnaev died after a confrontation with police in Watertown. Protesters have demonstrated at the two funeral homes.
The state medical examiner found the cause of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death to be gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso. Police have said they were subduing Tsarnaev after a shoot-out on April 19 when his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, ran him over in a desperate bid for freedom.
The younger brother was captured later the same day. He is facing federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
The two brothers were living in the Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge. The younger brother was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Governor Deval Patrick on Monday urged the Tsarnaev family to resolve the emotional question of where to bury Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Stefan said Monday that Tsarnaev’s mother wants his body returned to Russia. Tsarnaev’s uncle, on the other hand, has insisted that he be buried in Cambridge, which has balked at that request.
Hazelhurst said his department had incurred $27,000 to $30,000 in overtime costs by last night to provide security to the Worcester funeral home, where protesters have gathered and traffic has clogged.
“For the most part, overall, it’s been pretty incident-free,” he said.