Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in serious condition, unable to be questioned
Last Updated: 235 days ago
BOSTON - The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing lay hospitalized under heavy guard Saturday as people across the area breathed easier and investigators tried to piece together the motive for the deadly plot.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, was reported in serious but stable condition and unable to be interrogated the morning after he was pulled, wounded and bloody, from a boat parked in the backyard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts. The capture came at the end of a tense day that began with his older brother, Tamerlan, dying in a desperate getaway attempt.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, speaking outside Fenway Park after appearing at a pre-game ceremony at Saturday afternoon's Boston Red Sox baseball game, said Tsarnaev is likely "not able to communicate yet."
President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered questions about the Boston bombings, including whether the Tsarnaev brothers -- ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade and lived in the Boston area -- had help from others.
"When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it's important that we do this right," Obama said. "That's why we take care not to rush to judgment -- not about the motivations of these individuals, certainly not about entire groups of people."
U.S. officials said a special interrogation team for high-value suspects would question Tsarnaev without first advising him of his right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, a warning typically given to criminal suspects known as the Miranda rule.
Authorities were invoking a rare public safety exception which the FBI's website says "permits law enforcement to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation" and introduce any statements gathered as evidence in a criminal prosecution. The FBI says "police officers confronting situations that create a danger to themselves or others may ask questions designed to neutralize the threat without first providing a warning of rights."
The American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about invoking the exception. Executive Director Anthony Romero said the exception applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is "not an open-ended exception" to the Miranda rule.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture touched off raucous celebrations in and around Boston, with chants of "USA! USA!" Residents flooded the streets in relief and jubilation four days after the twin explosions ripped through the marathon crowd at the finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 180.
"Tonight, our family applauds the entire law enforcement community for a job well done, and trust that our justice system will now do its job," said the family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the bombing. Also killed in the attack was Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old student from China, and Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant worker.
An uncle of the bombing suspects, Ruslan Tsarnaev, said he was relieved his younger nephew was captured alive so he could seek forgiveness from the bombing victims.
Tsarni said he grew concerned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev when his older nephew told him in a 2009 phone conversation that he had chosen "God's business" over work or school. Tsarni said he then contacted a family friend who told him Tsarnaev had been influenced by a recent convert to Islam. Tsarni said the two hadn't spoken since that call.
As Boston returned to normal, the city's beloved baseball team, the Boston Red Sox faced the Kansas City Royals Saturday afternoon for their first home game since the marathon attack. The Red Sox had postponed Friday night's game against the Royals.
Bomb-sniffing dogs and military in camouflage fatigues joined the police patrolling Fenway Park, when the Red Sox dressed in specially designed uniforms that said "Boston" instead of "Red Sox. The team said the uniforms would be autographed and auctioned off to raise money for the One Fund Boston, the charity established to help the victims.
The all-day manhunt Friday brought the Boston area to a near standstill and put people on edge across the metropolitan area.
The break came around nightfall when a homeowner in Watertown saw blood on his boat, pulled back the tarp and saw a bloody Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding inside, police said. After an exchange of gunfire, Tsarnaev was seized and taken away in an ambulance.
"They finally caught the jerk," said nurse Cindy Boyle of Watertown. "It was scary. It was tense."
The bloody endgame came four days after the bombing and just a day after the FBI released surveillance-camera images of two young men in baseball caps suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives on Monday at the Boston Marathon finish line.
Queries cascaded in after authorities released the photos -- the FBI website was overwhelmed with 300,000 hits per minute --but what role those played in the overnight clash was unclear. 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 night of crime.
During the long night of violence leading up to the capture, the Tsarnaev brothers carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz and released him unharmed, killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, severely wounded another lawman and took part in a furious gun battle and car chase in which they hurled explosives at police from a large homemade arsenal, authorities said.
Police said three other people were taken into custody for questioning at an off-campus housing complex at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have lived.
Chechnya, where the Tsarnaev family has roots, has been the scene of two wars between Russian forces and separatists since 1994. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although not in the West.
The Russian FSB intelligence security service told the FBI in early 2011 about information that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam, two law enforcement officials said Saturday.
According to an FBI news release issued Friday night, a foreign government said that based on its information, Tsarnaev was a strong believer and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the U.S. for travel to a region in that country to join unspecified underground groups.
The FBI did not name the foreign government, but the two law enforcement officials identified the FSB as the provider of the information to one of the FBI's field offices and also to FBI headquarters in Washington. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.
The FBI said that in response, it interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and relatives, and did not find any domestic or foreign terrorism activity.
Albrecht Ammon, a downstairs-apartment neighbor of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Cambridge, said in an interview that the older brother had strong political views about the United States. Ammon quoted Tsarnaev as saying that the U.S. uses the Bible as "an excuse for invading other countries."
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. He was married with a young daughter.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Students said he was on campus this week after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Shortly before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture, the White House said Obama had spoken by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the investigation.
The White House said in a statement that Obama "praised the close cooperation that the United States has received from Russia on counter-terrorism, including in the wake of the Boston attack."
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