Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said releasing the photos of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing “may have led to the further attack’’ against MIT police officer Sean Collier, which he called an assassination. But he stressed there is no way to know for sure.
Releasing the pictures after many hours of behind-the-scenes deliberation, “was a turning point in the investigation, no doubt about it,’’ said Davis in an interview with the Globe.
“It forced them out of their hideout and they decided to commit further violent acts. But it’s my belief that they were already manufacturing explosive devices. Further violent acts were inevitable.’’ The suspects “were not making those explosives for nothing,’’ said Davis. “There was a plan there, and I believe that tragically [Collier] lost his life, but he was truly protecting the citizens of the city.’’
Collier was shot to death in his cruiser near Vassar and Main streets in Cambridge at 10:24 p.m. Thursday night, police said. After the shooting, police say the siblings carjacked a motorist minutes later on Memorial Drive.
After releasing the unidentified motorist, an MBTA police officer spotted the stolen car and a cavalcade of police cruisers chased the suspects into Watertown where a massive gun battle ensued.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot during the gun battle and later pronounced dead. His brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, escaped and was captured Friday night hiding in a boat in the yard of a home on Franklin Street in Watertown after exchanging gunfire with police. He is in serious but stable condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.
The two brothers from Cambridge are suspected of placing bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday that killed three people and wounded more than 170.
Investigators also believe the suspects are responsible for wounding Transit Police officer Richard H. Donahue Jr. during the gun battle in Watertown early Friday morning. Donahue was in critical but stable condition at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge.