Second Boston suspect captured

BOSTON - The ethnic Chechen teenager suspected of staging the Boston marathon bombings is in serious condition and being treated in hospital after his dramatic capture, police said on Friday night.

  • Published: 20/04/2013 at 09:26 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was found hiding in a boat in the backyard of a house in the Boston suburb of Watertown, wounded and weary after a gun battle with police overnight in which his accomplice brother was killed.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said that with Tsarnaev's arrest, "the citizens of the city of Boston and this area can be confident that the threat has been removed".

A cheering crowd gathers at Boston Common after the final suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was arrested on Friday night. (AP Photo)

"Captured!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody," the Boston Police Department said on its Twitter account after Tsarnaev was taken away to applause from people standing in a nearby street in Watertown.

The surrender ended a dramatic four days after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and wounding about 180 in the worst attack on the United States since the Sept 11, 2001 atrocities.

Police, state troopers and FBI agents zeroed in on the boat on Franklin Street after a man went out of the house and saw blood on the boat, Davis said.

The man then opened the tarpaulin covering the boat and saw a man covered with blood inside, and called police.

Davis said a perimeter was set up around the boat before a major operation ended a drama that started with the twin bombing at the marathon on Monday.

"Over the course of the next hour or so, we exchanged gunfire with the suspect who was inside the boat," he said.

"And ultimately, the hostage rescue team of the FBI made an entry into the boat and removed the suspect who was still alive in the boat."

The two main suspects in the bombings that killed three people and wounded about 180 others -- Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan -- were located after a police officer was killed and another wounded during a violent spree overnight that began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus.

Davis said more than 200 rounds of gunfire were exchanged during that incident, and that the two men had hurled improvised explosive devices and handmade hand grenades at officers.

The 26-year-old elder brother Tamerlan died of bullet wounds and injuries from explosives strapped to his body, a hospital doctor said.

President Barack Obama vowed to find out what turned two young US residents to violence.

The attacks had failed because Americans refused to be terrorised, Obama said in a televised address, as he heaped praise on police while remembering the dead and injured.

"Tonight, there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?" he asked.

An image taken from TV stows injured suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being taken to a local hospital following his capture. (AP Photo)

"How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."

The Boston bombings traumatised the city with investigators at first seeming to be struggling to find the attackers.

A major breakthrough came when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday released video and picture images of the Tsarnaev brothers as they walked in Boston's Boylston Street where the attacks took place.

Within hours of that press conference, the brothers embarked on a final rampage through the Boston suburbs.

They were captured on a video surveillance camera in a convenience store near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge late Thursday. A police officer was killed in a campus shootout minutes later, according to authorities.

The suspects then carjacked a Mercedes, sparking a high-speed police chase to Watertown. Police said the two men hurled explosives out of the car window before the elder brother was shot.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died of bullet wounds and injuries from explosives strapped to his body, a hospital doctor said.

A police officer was wounded in the clash and Tamerlan's use of explosives sparked the fears that his brother also had bombs on his body.

Police launched a huge manhunt on Friday with 9,000 police surrounding Watertown and parts of nearby districts hoping to isolate the teenager who was wounded in the shootout in which his brother was killed.

Authorities halted all public transport and ordered schools and universities closed and told people in most of the Boston region to stay in their homes.

Tsarnaev was spotted a few minutes after police chiefs and political leaders ended a press conference at which they said they believed the teenager had eluded their operation.

The brothers are ethnic Chechen Muslims who moved to the United States about a decade ago. Their social media pages appeared to express sympathy with the struggle of Chechnya, which has been ravaged by two wars since 1994 between Russia and increasingly Islamist-leaning separatist rebels.

The suspects' father Anzor Tsarnaev told Russia's Interfax news agency his sons had been "set up by the secret services because they are practising Muslims".

An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said however that his nephews "put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity" and that the teenaged Dzhokhar should give himself up and seek "forgiveness".

The attack on the marathon sent a hail of nails and shrapnel into crowds of thousands on Boston's Boylston Street.

Boston has held emotional tributes to the dead -- eight-year-old Martin Richard, Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi of China and Krystle Campbell, a restaurant manager.

More than 100 of the wounded have left Boston hospitals and fewer than 10 of those still in hospital remain in critical condition. Some have horrific injuries and will require new operations, doctors said.

The FBI acknowledged on Friday that an unnamed foreign government had asked about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2001 but investigators had found no key information.

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Writer: AFP and AP

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