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Boston bombingDzhokhar Tsarnaev had no firearms, explosives with him when captured

Published 25 April 2013

More details have emerged to shed light on the last few hours before 19-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding on a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts. Tsarnaev had no weapons or explosives with him in the boat where he was hiding. Boston police officers say that the heavy fire directed at the boat was probably the result of chaos of the moment. In a tense and charged atmosphere, one accidental shot could have caused what police call “contagious fire.” Tsarnaev sustained severe injuries, some of them to his neck and lower jaw, preventing him from talking. This led to rumors in the press that he tried to take his own life, but failed. We now know that he could not have tried to take his life because he had no firearms with him on the boat.

More details have emerged to shed light on the last few hours before 19-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding on a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts.

  • There was no firefight in the backyard of the house where the boat was parked – or, more precisely, it was a one-sided fire: Tsarnaev did not respond to the heavy fire directed at the boat by police officers because he was unarmed. The police kept firing at the boat, on and off, for about half an hour, but in the tension and confusion which surrounded the siege it appears that they did not realize that nobody was firing back at them.
  • The Washington Post reports that the FBI, whose agents were among those surrounding the boat, would not comment specifically on the events, but an FBI spokesman, Paul Bresson, said: “Law enforcement was placed in an extraordinarily dangerous situation….  They were dealing with an individual who is alleged to have been involved in the bombings at the Boston Marathon. As if that’s not enough, there were indications of a carjacking, gunfire, an ambushed police officer and bombs thrown earlier. In spite of these extraordinary factors, they were able to capture this individual alive with no further harm to law enforcement. It was a tremendously effective outcome under dire circumstances.”
  • Boston police sources say that the heavy fire directed toward the boat was probably the result of chaos of the moment. Some police officers present believed Tsarnaev had fired a weapon at them, and that he was about to detonate explosives. One police officer described the situation as “the fog of war,” and said that in a tense and charged atmosphere, one accidental shot could have caused what police call “contagious fire.”
  • “They probably didn’t know whether he had a gun,” one law enforcement official told the Post. “Hours earlier he and his brother had killed a police officer, shot another officer and thrown explosives out of their cars as the police were chasing them. They couldn’t assume that he did not have a gun and more explosives.”
  • Tsarnaev sustained severe injuries, some of them to his neck and lower jaw, preventing him from talking. This led to rumors in the press that he tried to take his own life, but failed. We now know that he could not have tried to take his life because he had no firearms with him on the boat.
  • Police are now certain that Tsarnaev sustains all his injuries during a firefight with the police during the early hours of Friday. A transit police officer was wounded in the exchange, in which the Tsarnaev brothers fired more than 200 rounds and lobbed homemade explosives at police. Both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar stepped out of the car to engage the police officers approaching them.
  • Tamerlan was shot and fell to the ground. Dzhokhar climbed back in a Mercedes SUV the two had carjacked earlier. He drove the SUV at the police officers, and in the process drove over his brother, who was still alive. Tamerlan’s cloths were caught by the SUV’s undercarriage, and he was dragged, still alive, for quite a distance. Sources in Boston say that his life probably could have been saved had he not been driven over by the SUV and then dragged on the pavement at high speed.
  • Dzhorkhar accelerated away toward Watertown, abandoned the car, and made it on foot to the tarp-covered boat.