The FBI-led investigation of the atrocity took a sudden and shocking turn Thursday afternoon after the FBI released photos and videos of the alleged Marathon bombers and asked the public for help identifying them. The images showed two young men casually lugging backpacks along Boylston Street Monday, shortly before two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Investigators said they believe the suspects carried crude but powerful bombs made from household pressure cookers in their backpacks, which they abandoned on the sidewalk.
Upon release of the images, tips poured into the FBI. Within hours, the brothers allegedly killed again, shooting Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier in his cruiser, near Vassar and Main streets in Cambridge, at about 10:24 p.m. The 26-year-old officer later died.
Police say the siblings carjacked a motorist minutes later on Memorial Drive. They released the unidentified motorist in Cambridge about 30 minutes later, police said. He was not hurt. Later that evening — the timing is unclear — an MBTA police officer spotted the stolen car, and a cavalcade of police cruisers chased the suspects into Watertown. The brothers threw explosives at the pursuing officers, police said.
The brothers stopped near Dexter and Laurel streets, got out of the car, and traded gunfire with police for several minutes. MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr., 33, was wounded. He was in stable condition Friday at Mount Auburn Hospital.
The elder brother was shot in the battle and collapsed.As his brother lay on the street, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev jumped into the car and took off, plowing past a line of police officers who fired furiously. As he drove, he ran over his brother’s body. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev abandoned the car nearby and fled on foot, triggering an enormous search and setting the region on edge.
Police took Tamerlan Tsarnaev to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center about 1:10 a.m. Friday. He was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m. Dr. Richard Wolfe said the suspect had been hit by shrapnel from an explosion and that he had died from “a combination of blasts” and “multiple gunshot wounds.”
The question that remains is why the siblings would attack their adoptive nation. But a picture began to emerge Friday of Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an aggressive, possibly radicalized immigrant who may have ensnared his younger brother — described almost universally as smart and sweet — into an act of terror.
“I used to warn Dzhokhar that Tamerlan was up to no good,” Zaur Tsarnaev, who identified himself as a 26-year-old cousin, said by phone Friday from Makhachkala, Russia. “[Tamerlan] was always getting into trouble. He was never happy, never cheering, never smiling. He used to strike his girlfriend. He hurt her a few times. He was not a nice man.”
In a photo essay about boxing, Tamerlan said: “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”
In 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on information that he was a follower of “radical Islam” who he had changed drastically, the bureau said in a statement Friday. In response, the FBI investigated and interviewed Tamerlan and family members. “The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” the bureau said.
Dzhokhar, the suspect seen in FBI photos in a white cap worn backward, was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. On Wednesday, two days after the Marathon attack, he spent the night at his dorm, according to a school official who declined to be named. He was an all-star wrestler and a member of the class of 2011 at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School; he won a Cambridge City Scholarship that year.
A Northeastern University sophomore who lived within blocks of Dzhokhar and graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin with him described the younger bombing suspect as an honor student popular with classmates who enjoyed playing pickup basketball with a large circle of friends.
Gilberto Junior, 44, owner of Junior’s Auto body in Somerville, said the younger suspect dropped off a white Mercedes station wagon two weeks ago for repairs. Junior said he had not yet touched the car when the suspect came back demanding the car, the day after the bombing. The owner said Dzhokhar appeared nervous.
The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the blasts, thanked law enforcement officers for their work on the investigation. “None of this will bring our beloved Martin back, or reverse the injuries these men inflicted on our family and nearly two hundred others,” the Dorchester family said in a statement. “We continue to pray for healing and for comfort on the long road that lies ahead for every victim and their loved ones.”Continued...