WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) – A round of blasts has been heard in Watertown, Mass., amid the search for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Emergency and military vehicles sped through town after an earlier burst of gunfire.
State police spokesman David Procopio says there is “renewed activity in Watertown” is connected to the search for 19-year-old college student Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (JOH’-kahr tsahr-NY’-ev).
Authorities are telling residents of the area to stay indoors.
The burst of activity came at the end of a tense day in and around Boston, and less than an hour after police announced that they were scaling back the hunt because they had come up empty-handed following an all-day search that sent thousands of SWAT team officers into the streets and paralyzed the metropolitan area.
UPDATE (3x): WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) – With the city virtually paralyzed, thousands of officers with rifles and armored vehicles swarmed the streets in and around Boston on Friday, hunting for a 19-year-old college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombing after his older brother and alleged accomplice was killed in a furious getaway attempt overnight.
During the long night of violence, the brothers killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle.
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. Their last known address was 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 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.
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.
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 is the home of an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, but its militants have never been known to export violence to 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.
As officers fanned out across the Boston area, Bryce Acosta, 24, came out of his Cambridge home with his hands up.
“I had like 30 FBI guys come storm my house with assault rifles,” he said. They yelled, “Is anybody in there?” and began searching his house and an adjacent shed, leaving after about 10 minutes.
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.
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.
Tsarni, the men’s uncle, told The Associated Press that the brothers traveled here together from Russia. He called his nephews “losers” and said they had struggled to settle themselves in the U.S. and ended up “thereby just hating everyone.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school said. U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk about an investigation in progress, said that he Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year and returned to the U.S. six months later.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the school said. The campus closed down along with colleges around the Boston area as the search unfolded.
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.” He said his son was studying medicine.
“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 marathon’s 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.
The long night of crime began between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday, when the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and shot to death an MIT police officer, 26-year-old Sean Collier, while he was responding to a report of a disturbance, investigators said.
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.
Doctors at a Boston hospital where Tamerlan Tsarnaev died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities gave no details on how his younger brother escaped.
Watertown resident Kayla Dipaolo, 25, was waiting for a bus that was to evacuate her and others from their neighborhood.
She said she was woken up overnight by gunfire and a large explosion that sounded “like it was right next to my head … and shook the whole house.” She was looking at the front door when a bullet came through the side paneling. SWAT team officers were running all over her yard, she said.
“It was very scary,” she said. “There are two bullet holes in the side of my house and by the front door there is another.”
Christine Yajko said she heard two loud explosions and gunfire. 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.
The brothers also started out the night in a Honda CRV and used it to carjack the Mercedes, investigators said. The CRV was later found abandoned in the morning in Boston.
Insurgents from Chechnya and neighboring restive provinces in the Caucasus have been involved in terror attacks in Moscow and other places in Russia.
In 2002, a group of Chechen militants took 800 people hostage in Moscow and held them for two days before special forces stormed the building, killing all 41 captors. Also killed were 129 hostages, mostly from the effects of the gas Russian forces used to subdue the attackers.
Chechen insurgents also launched a 2004 raid in the southern Russian town of Beslan and took hundreds of hostages. The siege ended in a bloodbath two days later, with more than 330 people, about half of them children, killed.
UPDATE (x2): Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing – identified to The Associated Press as coming from the Russian region near Chechnya – killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large Friday, authorities said.
A law enforcement intelligence bulletin obtained by the AP identified the surviving bomb suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev (JOE-khar Tsahr-NEYE-ev), 19, of Cambridge, Mass.
Two law enforcement officials told AP that Tsarnaev and the other suspect who was not immediately identified have been living legally in the U.S. for at least one year.
Russia’s North Caucasus region has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars in Chechnya.
UPDATE: Police are locking down some neighborhoods in Boston and its western suburbs as they search for the remaining suspect in the marathon bombings.
Authorities urged residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit was shut down.
At least a quarter of a million people live in those suburbs. Many people in the city of Boston and surrounding areas rely on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to get to work.
The announcement Friday morning comes hours after the killing of one suspect, known as the man in the black hat from marathon surveillance footage. The man in the white hat is on the loose.
“We believe this man to be a terrorist… We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people.” -Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis
ORIGINAL: One of two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombing is dead and a massive manhunt is underway for another, authorities said early Friday.
Residents of Watertown, a Boston suburb, have been advised by police to keep their doors locked and not let anyone in.
“We believe this to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed David. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.”
The Middlesex district attorney said the two men are suspected of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer on campus late Thursday, then stealing a car at gunpoint and later releasing its driver unharmed. Hours earlier, police had released photos of the marathon bombing suspects and asked for the public’s help finding them. A new photo of the suspect on the loose was released later showing him in a grey hoodie sweatshirt. It was taken at a 7-Eleven in Cambridge, just across the river from Boston.
Authorities say the suspects threw explosives from the car as police followed it into Watertown. The suspects and police exchanged gunfire, and one of the suspects was critically injured and later died at a hospital while the other escaped.
The FBI said it was working with local authorities to determine what happened.
The MIT shooting on the Cambridge campus Thursday night was followed by reports of gunfire and explosions in Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston.
The MIT officer had been responding to report of a disturbance Thursday night when he was shot multiple times, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney’s office and Cambridge police. It said there were no other victims.
In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.
State police spokesman David Procopio said, “The incident in Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly, potentially, being used against the police officers.”
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!”
MIT said right after the 10:30 p.m. shooting that police were sweeping the campus in Cambridge and urged people to remain indoors. They urged people urged to stay away from the Stata Center, a mixed-use building with faculty offices, classrooms and a common area.
Hours later, MIT, which has about 11,000 students, said the campus was clear but the shooter was still on the loose.
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