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Bullet that nearly killed MBTA police officer in Watertown gunfight appears to have been friendly fire

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Eyewitness accounts strongly suggest that MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr.was shot and nearly killed by a fellow police officer in Watertown April 19 during the hail of gunfire unleashed on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the terrorism suspect made a getaway in a carjacked sport utility vehicle.

Donohue went down during an extraordinary gunfight in which at least a dozen police officers from four departments exchanged up to 300 rounds of gunfire with Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But by the time Donohue apparently was shot, the Tsarnaev brothers no longer had a gun.

The shooting of Donohue is the most serious of three possible accidential shootings during the hunt for the suspected bombers. But police say the potential friendly fire incidents do not take away from the bravery of officers who put their lives on the line against alleged terrorists accused of killing four people.

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