It was an event that kept every American uncertain about what would transpire: a terrorist bombing on domestic soil, the first since the September 11 attacks. The suspects were originally two men only identified by a camera which showed them placing duffel bags at the scenes of the explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon on April 15. No leads developed during the first couple of days. Police wondered whether the suspects were still in the Boston area. Even worse, there was the fear that the two would strike again.
The night of Thursday, April 18 proved to be start of a 24-hour drama. It began with shoplifting at a convenience store. Next was the murder of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Sean Collier. Then came the carjacking and brief hostage-taking of the car’s foreign owner, to whom the culprits identified themselves as the Boston Marathon bombers. This proved to be a mistake, since the hostage was either released or escaped and alerted the police.
This series of events soon led the police on the trail of two brothers, Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.
The violence continued later that night in Watertown, Mass., when a police officer found himself pinned down in a firefight with the two brothers. Before backup arrived, the Tsarnaevs shot at the officer, firing up to 200 rounds, according to The New York Times. Several explosives were also used, some similar to the ones used in the Boston Marathon bombing. Even as more policeman arrived, the fighting continued.
Eventually, a car chase ensued between police and the two brothers. At some point, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was out of the car and firing until wounded and out of ammunition, during which time police successfully tackled him. Just then, the younger brother Dzhokhar tried getting away in the stolen SUV, forcing police to scatter as he ran over his brother before driving out of sight. The result of this first encounter left a police officer wounded, Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead, and his younger brother still on the run.
Americans woke Friday morning learning what had transpired during the night and where the situation currently stood. The city of Boston and surrounding suburbs were placed on complete lock down in order to help the search for the remaining suspect.
A dramatic part of the day came from the Tsarnaevs’ paternal uncle, a Maryland resident named Ruslan Tsarni. He attacked the actions of his nephews, calling them “losers” and saying that they brought shame to their family and their Chechen ethnicity. He then directly addressed his wanted nephew, stating “Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in, and ask for forgiveness!” according to The Wall Street Journal.
As the day progressed into night, authorities had no success. Finally, around 6 p.m., they announced that the lock down was lifted, leading to the second and final break in the manhunt. A Watertown man who stepped out into his backyard noticed blood on his boat. It was here that he discovered a bloody Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then proceeded to call the police. After a 30-minute standoff, police successfully apprehended the seriously wounded suspect, according to NBC News. At last, the people of Boston were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
For residents of the Boston area, there was a strong sense of relief at the news of Tsarnaev’s arrest. People lined the streets to cheer all the authorities who were involved in the manhunt.
The two suspects were Russian-born of Chechen background and had immigrated to the U.S. with their family a decade ago, according to The Wall Street Journal. Both brothers seemed to have normal lives until a few years ago when the elder Tamerlan became an increasingly devout Muslim. Once a promising boxer, he quit in about 2009, believing it did not agree with his faith.
As for the younger Dzhokhar, most friends and observers claimed that he did not seem to share his brother’s extremist views. By all accounts, he was very sociable and acted like a normal college student. Several have expressed their belief that he was put up to the bombing by his brother, according to The New York Times.
Authorities may not know for a while the true motive behind the bombings, at least until Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is able to respond after being critically injured in the throat. The suspect had begun to communicate Monday morning through writing, after which he was charged for the bombing, although it is still unclear if he will receive the death penalty. It can be expected that the next several weeks will be critical in learning information.
One of the biggest questions that the authorities have is what Tamerlan Tsarnaev did during a six-month trip to Russia last year. One fear that they have is that he may have received training from a terrorist group, such as al-Qaida. The other big question is whether more attacks had been planned, and if there are other suspects who may have been involved, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, these are just speculations remaining to be addressed.
As of Tuesday, Tsarnaev’s condition had been updated from serious to fair. He also continued to provide answers through writing for authorities. He claimed that both he and his brother had no association with any kind of international terrorist group. Instead, Tsarnaev claimed that they drew inspiration from terrorist websites, according to The Wall Street Journal. Despite these confessions, authorities are still trying to verify their legitimacy.
Information from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and NBC News was used in this report.