Official: Boston bombing suspect may not be able to talk after injury
BOSTON (CNN) — The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings suffered an injury to his throat and may not be able to talk, a federal official told CNN on Saturday, possibly hindering attempts by authorities to question him about a motive in the attack.
With one suspect dead, authorities believe answers to a motive and whether the brothers had help rest with Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was captured Friday night after a shootout just minutes after authorities had indicated that a massive manhunt for the 19-year-old suspect appeared to come up empty.
The official, who was briefed on Tsarnaev’s condition, spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tsarnaev was in “serious but stable condition” and “not able to communicate yet,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told reporters during an impromptu briefing on Saturday.
Federal prosecutors are at the heavily guarded Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where Tsarnaev is being treated for wounds. Authorities have not publicly detailed the injuries sustained by the teen.
“I, and I think all of the law enforcement professionals, are hoping for a host of reasons that the suspect survives, because we have a million questions, and those questions need to be answered. There are parts of the investigation, in terms of information and evidence, that still needs to be run to ground,” Patrick said.
Authorities have not said whether they have questioned Tsarnaev, nor have they publicly said what charges will be filed against the teen. But a Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN the teen will face federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges.
The government has invoked the public safety exception, a designation that allows investigators to question the teen without reading him his Miranda rights and without a lawyer present, another Justice Department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN.
Tsarnaev and his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are accused of setting off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and leaving more than 170 wounded.
The arrest of Tsarnaev brought to an end a massive manhunt that paralyzed Cambridge, Watertown and Boston as authorities searched for a suspect not only believed to be behind the bombings, but who they feared also could unleash more explosives.
So far, evidence suggests that the two brothers acted alone in the bombings and subsequent shootout, Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau said.
“From what I know right now, these two acted together and alone,” Deveau told CNN on Saturday. “I think we have to be ever vigilant, and we’re learning as we go along, but as far as this little cell — this little group — I think we got our guys.”
Even so, questions remain.
“Why did these young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers,” President Barack Obama said Friday in a televised address.
24 hours of chaos
Shortly after the FBI released photos of the suspects Thursday night, Tsarnaev and his older brother led authorities on a wild car chase and shootout.
Officials say the brothers, for no obvious reason, killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier while he was sitting in his car. The Tsarnaevs then hijacked a vehicle, telling the driver they were the marathon bombers, and hurled explosives at the pursuing officers, authorities said.
“There was an exchange of over 200 rounds of gunfire, there were improvised explosive devices, and handmade hand grenades thrown at the officers at the scene,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the shootout. He was wearing explosives and a triggering device when he died, a source briefed on the investigation told CNN.
The FBI, while executing a search warrant at a residence believed to have been affiliated with Tsarnaev, took three people into custody for questioning Friday. It was unclear Saturday what information the FBI was seeking and whether the three were released.
Suspect curled up on a blood-stained boat
The dramatic end to the manhunt came when a Watertown man, cooped up in his house all day because of a “shelter in place” order, finally stepped outside when the order was lifted.
David Henneberry soon noticed the tarp covering the boat in his backyard was flapping in the wind and a retention strap was cut. He also noticed a small amount of blood on the tarp.
“He basically stuck his head under the tarp, noticed a pool of blood,” Henneberry’s stepson Robert Duffy told CNN.
Henneberry discovered a man curled up in a ball.
“And at that point he became an absolute hero. Instead of being a hero at the moment and yelling at what we now know was the suspect, he did the right thing as law enforcement had urged” and called 911, Duffy said.
Authorities arrived and evacuated Duffy’s stepfather. Using a bullhorn, they called out to the suspect: “Come out with your hands up.”
The bloodied man refused.
“We used a robot to pull the tarp off the boat,” David Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police said. “We were also watching him with a thermal imaging camera in our helicopter. He was weakened by blood loss — injured last night, most likely.” A thermal image photograph, released Saturday by the state police, showed what authorities say was Tsarnaev lying in the middle of the boat.
A gunfight ensued, with more than 20 rounds fired.
Authorities eventually rushed the boat and took the teen into custody.
Cheers and mourning
The collective mood in the region turned from fear to cheers Friday night after Boston police sent out one tweet: “The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
As local and federal authorities left their positions late Friday night, hundreds of residents swarmed the streets of Watertown and Boston, surrounding the cars and cheering them on.
“Every time a police car passed by, the cheering became louder, and a sense of respect and admiration was felt through the crowd,” said Montana Fredrick, who joined a sea of other Northeastern University students in greeting the officers.
But the celebrations were tempered by the deaths of four people this week, all allegedly by the hands of the Tsarnaev brothers.
Three spectators were killed in the marathon bombings, and Collier, the MIT police officer, was fatally shot early Friday. At least 57 people remained hospitalized Saturday afternoon, including three in critical condition, according to a CNN count.
On Saturday night as Collier’s body was driven from the morgue to a funeral home, Boston-area police officers and firefighters lined the route to pay respect to their slain colleague.
The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the bombings, issued a statement thanking the authorities and members of the public who helped track down the two suspects.
“It worked, and tonight, our community is once again safe from these two men,” the Richard family said.
“None of this will bring our beloved Martin back, or reverse the injuries these men inflicted on our family and nearly two hundred others. We continue to pray for healing and for comfort on the long road that lies ahead for every victim and their loved ones.”
Teams honor victims
Boston sports teams Saturday were honoring the victims of the attacks.
The Boston Red Sox planned a special pre-game ceremony at their Saturday game against the Kansas City Royals, which was being played amid heightened security at Fenway Park. Their Friday night game against the Royals was postponed because of the city lockdown and will be played Sunday, the team said, for a day-night double-header.
The Boston Bruins hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, originally scheduled for Friday night, was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins and Penguins, along with the Red Sox, all plan to auction their Saturday jerseys to support the bombing victims.
Limited-edition T-shirts reading “Boston Stands as One” are being sold by the Boston Celtics to support the victims. Players planned to wear some of the shirts while warming up for Saturday’s game, the team said.
Obama and Republicans stand together
President Obama united with Republicans on Saturday in condemning the violence that took place in Boston and praising the valor that followed.
In his weekly radio address, Obama argued the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, which he described as an “act of terror,” will not be remembered for the damage it caused but the “stories of heroism and kindness.”
In the Republicans’ address, Sen. Tim Scott, like Obama, praised first responders and cautioned those who would consider attacking the United States.
“There is no corner on Earth, no hiding place in America that will keep us from finding you,” he said.
Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni said their alleged actions were abhorrent.
“You put a shame on our entire family — the Tsarnaev family — and you put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity,” Tsarni said.
Tsarni promised Saturday to help his nephew seek forgiveness from the bombing victims and advised him to tell police everything he knows.
The brothers come from a family originally from the Russian republic of Chechnya and fled the brutal wars there in the 1990s. It’s unknown how their Chechen roots may have influenced their alleged actions.
Tsarni said he believes Tamerlan Tsarnaev influenced his younger brother.
FBI agents interviewed the elder Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of a foreign government that suspected he had ties to extremist groups, the FBI said. It declined to name the government, but a senior U.S. official told CNN on Saturday that it was Russia that made the request of the United States.
The request was based on information that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam, the FBI said, adding it found no evidence of terrorism activity.
“I think unless we see some horrible dropping of the ball, I don’t think this is an intelligence failure,” said former CIA operative Robert Baer. “In retrospect, it might look like one, but I don’t think it is.”
The suspects’ father, who lives in the Russian republic of Dagestan, told CNN on Saturday that he believes his sons were “never, ever” involved in the Boston attacks. He also said he plans to go to the United States, though he didn’t say when.
By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN. CNN’s Holly Yan, Thomas Watkins, Melissa Gray, Carol Cratty, Susan Candiotti, John King, Joe Johns, Chris Lawrence, Deborah Feyerick, Jake Tapper, Drew Griffin, Poppy Harlow, Shannon Travis, Pamela Brown, Julian Cummings, and Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report.