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Manhunt over: second Boston Marathon bombing suspect in custody

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Manhunt over: second Boston Marathon bombing suspect in custody

By The Associated Press, Jay Sorgi, Jaclyn Brandt, Jon Byman and Jon Meerdink. CREATED Apr 19, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr 19, 2013

Scroll down for live video from NBC News, and scroll through for a slideshow from the scene of the shootout where a Boston Marathon bombing suspect and police officer both died.

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) -- A 19-year-old college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings was taken into custody Friday evening after a manhunt that left the city virtually paralyzed and his older brother and accomplice dead.

Police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody. They later wrote, "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."

Tsarnaev's brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, was killed Friday in a furious attempt to escape police.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been holed up in a boat in a Watertown neighborhood. The crowd gathered near the scene let out a cheer when spectators saw officers clapping.

"Everyone wants him alive," said Kathleen Paolillo, a 27-year-old teacher who lives in Watertown.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted "We got him," along with a photo of the police commissioner speaking to him. Watertown residents poured out of their homes and lined the streets to cheer police vehicles as they rolled away from the scene.

During a long night of violence Thursday into Friday, the brothers killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle, authorities said.

The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechen brothers who had lived in Dagestan, which neighbors Chechnya in southern Russia. They had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle said, and were believed to be living in Cambridge, Mass.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage of the marathon in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His younger brother, who had been dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday's deadly bombing -- escaped and was on the run.

Their uncle in Maryland, Ruslan Tsarni, pleaded on live television: "Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."

Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay indoors as the hunt for Suspect No. 2 went on. Businesses were asked not to open. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home. The Red Sox and Bruins postponed their games.

From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead and armored vehicles rumbled through the streets. Authorities also searched trains.

"We believe this man to be a terrorist," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people."

The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and instantly raising the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Chechnya was the scene of two wars between Russian forces and separatists since 1994, in which tens of thousands were killed in heavy Russian bombing. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although not in the West.

Investigators in the Boston case have shed no light on the motive for the bombing and have said it is unclear whether it was the work of domestic or international terrorists or someone else entirely with an unknown agenda.

The endgame -- at least for Suspect No. 1 -- came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of the two young men at the marathon's finish line and appealed to the public for help in identifying and capturing them.

State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said police realized they were dealing with the bombing suspects based on what the two men told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt overnight.

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Sullivan and Associated Press writers Stephen Braun and Jack Gillum reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Mike Hill, Katie Zezima, Pat Eaton-Robb and Steve LeBlanc in Boston and Jeff Donn in Cambridge, Mass., contributed to this report.

 

Read more on the story below the videos.

Watch NBC News video below:

Previously POSTED: Friday morning 2:24 a.m.

Click here for analysis on the Boston bombing suspects, their methods and their background, as a terrorism expert explained to Newsradio 620 WTMJ.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His brother, a 19-year-old college student who was dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday's deadly bombing at the marathon finish line -- escaped.

The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the unfolding case.

Click here to read the take of an MSOE grad who lives in Boston and is just blocks from the epicenter of the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Click here to read Tom Murray's interview with the MSOE grad, who was also just yards from the explosions Monday.

Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay indoors as the hunt for Suspect No. 2 went on. Businesses were asked not to open. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home.

From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents with armored vehicles surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead.

"We believe this man to be a terrorist," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people."

Click here to read analysis from two Milwaukee law enforcement experts on the extraordinary nature of this manhunt in Boston.  

The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and instantly raising the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Authorities have shed no light on the motive for the attack and have said it is unclear whether it was the work of domestic or international terrorists or someone else entirely with an unknown agenda.

The endgame -- at least for Suspect No. 1 -- came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of the two young men at the finish line and appealed to the public for help in identifying and capturing them. Tips came pouring in to the FBI immediately, but exactly how authorities managed to close in on the two was not immediately disclosed.

The men's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the brothers traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the school said. The campus closed down along with other colleges around the Boston area.

Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is "a true angel."

"Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here," the father said.

The city of Cambridge announced two years ago that it had awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was listed as a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a highly regarded public school whose alumni include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and NBA star Patrick Ewing.

The images released by the FBI depict the two young men walking one behind the other near the finish line. Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said Suspect No. 2 in the white hat was seen setting down a bag at the site of the second of two deadly explosions.

Authorities said surveillance tape recorded late Thursday showed Suspect No. 2 during a robbery of a convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of MIT, where a university police officer -- 26-year-old Sean Collier -- was shot to death while responding to a report of a disturbance.

From there, authorities said, the two men carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge. The man was not injured.

The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police. A transit police officer was severely wounded, authorities said.

Watertown resident Christine Yajko said she was awakened at about 1:30 a.m. by a loud noise, began to walk to her kitchen and heard gunfire.

"I heard the explosion, so I stepped back from that area, then I went back out and heard a second one," she said. "It was very loud. It shook the house a little."

She said a police officer later knocked on her door and told her there was an undetonated improvised explosive device in the street and warned her to stay away from the windows.

"It was on the street, right near our kitchen window," she said.

Boston cab driver Imran Saif said he was standing on a street corner at a police barricade across from a diner when he heard an explosion.

"I heard a loud boom and then a rapid succession of pop, pop, pop," he said. "It sounded like automatic weapons. And then I heard the second explosion."

He said he could smell something burning and advanced to check it out but area residents at their windows yelled at him, "Hey, it's gunfire! Don't go that way!"

Doctors at a Boston hospital where Tamerlan Tsarnaev died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds.

In the past, insurgents from Chechnya and neighboring restive provinces in the Caucasus have been involved in terror attacks in Moscow and other places in Russia.

Those raids included one in Moscow in October 2002 in which a group of Chechen militants took 800 people hostage and held them for two days before special forces stormed the building, killing all 41 Chechen hostage-takers. Also killed were 129 hostages, mostly from effects of narcotic gas Russian forces used to subdue the attackers.

Chechen insurgents also launched a 2004 hostage-taking raid in the southern Russian town of Beslan, where they took hundreds of hostages. The siege ended in a bloodbath two days later, with more than 330 people, about half of them children, killed.

Insurgents from Chechnya and other regions also have launched a long series of bombings in Moscow and other cities in Russia.

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Sullivan and Associated Press writer Stephen Braun reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this report from Boston.