In Watertown, all firefighters are trained as EMTs. They are instructed to never enter an unsecured location: If you’re hurt, you’re useless.
“We would never drive into a shooting scene,’’ Watertown Fire Chief Mario A. Orangio would later say. “That’s a Bruce Willis movie scene.’’
But as their rig rolled down Laurel Street, Caruso and Menton tore up that book. At the scene, Caruso went to the rear of the ambulance to retrieve the stretcher, but Donohue had already been carried from the driveway and into the back for treatment. The stretcher never left the truck.
“We need to get him out of here!’’ police officers, shrouded in post-midnight darkness, shouted. “He’s bleeding bad! We need to go!’’
Donohue was bleeding profusely. He had a three-quarter inch bullet wound at the top of his right thigh. He had no pulse. His eyes were open. His color was gray.
“He was deceased,’’ is how Donahue looked to Caruso.
Caruso ripped Donohue’s blood-soaked pants apart, desperate to find the source of the bleeding. He grabbed two multi-trauma dressings, big gauze pads, and pushed them into Donohue’s wound.
Menton provided breathing for the breathless patient, using a “BVM,’’ a bag valve mask, that sent puffs of air into Donohue’s lungs.
Alongside them, Trooper Dumont, who had jumped aboard, began performing chest compressions.
“We need a driver! We need a driver!” officers outside shouted. Moments later the ambulance lurched forward.
In the front of the cab was Tim Menton. The Watertown officer who moments before had been in the street shootout now sped to Mount Auburn Hospital, the closest emergency room available. Within minutes, the rescue truck arrived at Mount Auburn.
“If we didn’t have three people in the back of the truck, I don’t know how it would have worked,’’ Pat Menton said, “because we were each doing a vital thing to save his life. We had to go.’’
Friday, 1 a.m.
The search for Dzhokhar
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s wild ride from the shootout scene was a short one.
He abandoned the bullet-riddled Mercedes-Benz SUV — whose hijacking would be his undoing — at the corner of Spruce and Lincoln streets. It was only about a half-mile away from where his brother lay.
Officers may have been delayed in their pursuit of Dzhokhar as they tended to Donohue, but they didn’t wait long.
Three cruisers sped after Dzhokhar, two local officers and a state trooper, Captain Dupuis of Watertown said.
“He had a little head start on us,’’ he said.
“We have all of Greater Boston coming and I have other officers who have come in and everybody else is pursuing it,’’ Watertown Chief Deveau said. “Everybody always asks: How did the guy get away? Well, he got away from my six or seven guys because they had another mission at that point. And he didn’t go very far.’’
For a while at least, it was far enough.
As Dzhokhar careened down hilly Spruce Street, Max Kerman was getting ready for bed. He heard the distant gunfire and stepped out on the second-floor porch to investigate — just as the SUV came into sight.
“I see this black SUV come flying up the hill, with its front end damaged, one headlight out and the windows on the passenger side blown out,” he said. “There’s a tight curve at the top of the hill, but he didn’t even slow down. I’m surprised he didn’t hit parked cars.”
Kerman, 25, estimated it was 45 seconds before an unmarked police cruiser with lights flashing came up the hill, then slowed down in front of his house. “So I’m screaming down at the cop, ‘Keep going! Keep going!’ pointing down the street,” Kerman said.
Within minutes, scores of police swarmed the neighborhood. They did a room-by-room search of Austin Lin’s house on Spruce Street before evacuating Lin and his grandmother to the police station. The residents of six other nearby houses were also hustled out of their homes in bathrobes and sweatpants—most of them clutching cellphones — for the night.
“They had SWAT teams, dogs, and the National Guard going through backyards and checking basements and garages,” said Mary Karaguesian, who watched from her home, also on Spruce Street. “But they didn’t find him.”
Kerman said police swept the backyard of his house four or five times.
“They were really thorough,” he said. And careful.
Indeed, when officers located the battered SUV, they approached it with caution. Could the suspect be hiding inside? Was it booby trapped?
“Eventually they determined there was nobody in the car,’’ Dupuis said. “Then they started looking through some back yards to see which way he may have gone. At that point, with all the bombs and weaponry that they had, they just pulled back and regrouped.’’Continued...