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State charges filed against Marathon bombing suspect in death of MIT police officer

Posted by Your Town  June 27, 2013 06:38 PM

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The following is a release from the Middlesex District Attorney. For full coverage of today's developments, including federal charges against Tsarnaev, go to boston.com.

WOBURN – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on more than a dozen criminal charges including murder for the shooting death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.

Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, was indicted on charges of murder, attempted armed robbery, armed assault with intent to murder (four counts), assault with a dangerous weapon (four counts), kidnapping, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a large capacity feeding device, and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.

“Officer Collier was a dedicated officer who was beloved by the MIT community and we are all deeply affected by his loss,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Today’s indictment is about recognizing the sacrifice of Officer Collier and working toward providing some solace for his family. It is also about recognizing the important work of the police in Middlesex County. They put themselves in harms way every day and this office will fully prosecute anyone who kills or attempts to kill a police officer in this county. I would like to commend the work of the Massachusetts State Police, MIT Police, Cambridge Police, Watertown Police, and MBTA Transit Police and the many other agencies that have collaborated with our office on this investigation. I’d also like to recognize our US Attorney and federal partners, with whom we will work closely as we prosecute this defendant for the violent, repulsive actions that have left a hole in our hearts and gaping wounds in our communities.”

Collier, 27, had been an MIT police officer since January 2012 and prior to that he was a civilian employee with the Somerville Police Department. Gov. Deval Patrick has signed legislation authorizing the City of Somerville to posthumously appoint Collier to the Somerville Police Department, which he was scheduled to join this summer.

The indictment stems from incidents that occurred in Middlesex County on April 18 and 19, 2013.

At approximately 10:20 p.m. on April 18, police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. At 10:30 p.m., officers discovered Collier shot in his vehicle in the area of Vassar and Main streets. According to authorities, the officer had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced deceased.

Authorities launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the shooting.

The investigation determined that two males were allegedly involved in this shooting, Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

After unsuccessfully attempting to steal the officers’ weapon, the two suspects fled the scene and then carjacked a vehicle in Boston. With the vehicle’s owner hostage in the vehicle, the two suspects drove to various locations, including an ATM in Watertown. It is alleged that the defendant and his brother stole the victim’s ATM card and withdrew money from an ATM. The suspects then stopped in Cambridge for gas and the victim fled.

The defendant and his brother drove to Watertown, where police, using GPS, located the vehicle. A Watertown police officer spotted the vehicle in the area of Dexter and Laurel Streets in Watertown. As additional police arrived, it is alleged that the suspects began shooting at police, leading to an exchange of gunfire with police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and also hit by a vehicle driven by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He was transported to the hospital and later pronounced dead. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled the scene and was arrested by the FBI in Watertown following an extensive search.

An MBTA Transit Police officer was seriously injured during the shootout. That aspect of the case, including the circumstances surrounding the shooting in Watertown, remains under investigation.

These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The investigation into the incidents that occurred in Middlesex County is a collaborative effort involving multiple agencies including the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, Cambridge Police, MIT Police, Watertown Police, Boston Police, MBTA Transit Police, the State Police Crime Lab, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office in Boston.

The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Lynch, Chief of Homicide. The victim witness advocate is Helena Clarke.

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