Hunt for bomber locks down Boston area

On Friday, with one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings dead, his brother was on the run and being pursued by hundreds of law enforcement officials in a manhunt that shut down Boston and several neighboring towns.

A man identified by authorities as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a shootout last night with police. He’s the man pictured wearing a black cap and described Thursday by the FBI as Suspect No. 1 in the bombings Monday that killed three.

His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appears to have escaped and police then threw a huge dragnet over the entire Boston region. In photos released by the FBI Thursday the younger brother is seen wearing a white cap. The agency called him Suspect No.2.

Police continued to track down leads all day Friday, closing off areas and holding back reporters.

A Maryland man who said he was Tsarnaev’s uncle told reporters the two men had brought shame on their family and all ethnic Chechens with the attacks, which he called an atrocity. “If you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness,” Ruslan Tsarni urged his nephew.

A teacher at the high school Dzhokhar attended who lives near Tsarnaev’s residence now, described the younger brother as “a wonderful kid” who seemed incapable of such acts.

Boston police ordered businesses to stay closed and told residents to stay inside and answer the door for no one but authorities. The city’s subway, bus, Amtrak train systems and Greyhound and Bolt Bus – a regional carrier – have been shut down. Taxi service was also suspended. Every Boston area school is closed.

“It’s unprecedented and very difficult to think about,” a Boston high school teacher said. “I don’t know exactly how I will discuss this with my students when we are all back in school,” she said, “but I have more options then the teachers who work with the very young children do. My kids are teenagers so there a lot more possibilities when it comes to ways I can handle this. I’ll be thinking about it.”

Police officers in full body armor, carrying automatic weapons, were travelling the streets in convoys and going door to door in Watertown, adjoining Boston, to track the suspect down, along with what some reports began saying were two accomplices.

“As I drove past Watertown toward Peabody I saw what had to be at least 300 security vehicles standing off the highway and ramps,” said John Case, an announcer on WSHC Radio in Shepherdstown, W.Va., who was visiting the area. “In addition, it looks like they commandeered a fleet of MTA vehicles too.”

The unprecedented events that led to the lockdown began Thursday night with the robbery of a 7-Eleven store.

Soon after, in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was fatally shot while sitting in his car. Police believe the bombing suspects were responsible for the shooting.

Police say the two then hijacked a car in Cambridge and released the driver at a gas station.

As police chased the car they say the occupants tossed explosives out the window and shot at them (the police).

Police fired back and wounded Tamerlan Tsarnaev who later died. They say he was wearing explosives and a trigger when his body was recovered.

A member of the transit police force was also shot and wounded, according to reports, but his condition was not known early Friday afternoon.

According to a source briefed on the investigation, the brothers came from the Russian Caucasus and had moved to Kyrgyzstan at a young age before coming to the United States several years ago.

Photo: A resident of Watertown, Mass., tweeted this photo of law enforcement making door to door searches right outside his home (via Twitter).



John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.