MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - The second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been detained, ending a massive manhunt, CNN quoted local police as saying Friday.
The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was taken away to cheers from the crowd at the scene in a Boston suburb. Local media said he was injured and was being taken to hospital. The FBI confirmed on its website that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted: "We got him."
Earlier, minutes after law enforcement authorities held a news briefing Friday night to say the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was still at large, CNN reported that he had been “cornered” in the Boston suburb of Watertown by police who fired gas into the building where he was holed up in the hopes he would surrender or lose consciousness. There were also reports of gunshots heard in the immediate area.
Officials held the news briefing to announce that the unprecedented lockdown that kept around a million people behind locked doors in Boston and its nearby suburbs had been lifted, even though a massive manhunt up to that time had failed to locate Tsarnaev, who is suspected of being one of two men who planted bombs at Monday’s Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured almost 200 others.
“The stay at home order is lifted,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said during the evening news briefing, ending the 18 hour lockdown, but he cautioned residents to stay indoors and remain vigilant.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, 26, are suspected of leaving backpacks containing home-made pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tamerlan was killed in a firefight with police in Watertown, a Boston suburb, early Friday morning, but Dzhokhar was able to flee the violent shootout on foot, according to police.
Prior to the shootout, the brothers allegedly killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus police officer in Cambridge.
Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Col. Timothy Alben said the tactical units and armored vehicles that had rolled through the streets of Watertown Friday would be “drawn back.”
Investigators searched door-to-door over a 20 block radius in Watertown on Friday looking for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“For the sake of everyone that was hurt or killed in the marathon and for the police officers that lost their life or were injured, we’re committed to seeing a conclusion to this case,” Alben said.
Police have said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was wired with explosives when he was killed and warned that his brother Dzhokhar could be strapped with explosives and cautioned people that he was extremely dangerous.
“My message to the suspect is to give himself up, to stop any further violence towards anyone,” Alben added, saying he believes Dzhokhar was still in Massachusetts.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, about an hour-and-a-half west of Boston, was evacuated and sealed off Friday after administrators confirmed that Dzhokhar was a registered student there.
“Students, faculty and staff have been asked to evacuate the campus in response to information that the person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings is a registered student. State, local and campus police are on campus to assist with the evacuation and conduct a full investigation,” a short message on the university’s voicemail said.
CNN and local media outlets reported students as saying they saw Dzhokhar on campus after Monday’s bombings. A CNN reporter said several National Guard helicopters had landed at the university and dropped off armed tactical intervention units.
The suspects’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, speaking outside his home in the Washington suburb of Montgomery Village, Maryland called on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to turn himself in and “ask forgiveness from the victims, the injured… forgiveness of these people,” Tsarni said.
Tsarni said the family is “Muslim, ethnic Chechens” who had come to the United States around 2003, and slammed his nephews for bringing shame on “the entire Chechen community.”
Asked why he thought his nephews might have carried out Monday’s bomb attack on the marathon, Tsarni said: “Being losers, hatred to those able to settle themselves are the only reasons.”
“Anything else to do with religion, with Islam, is a fraud, a fake,” he said, adding that his nephews must have been radicalized by someone outside the family.
The mother of the suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, expressed disbelief that her sons could have carried out the attack at the marathon, saying she thought they had been set up.
“Tamerlan got involved in religion five years ago. He was controlled by the FBI for five years. They knew what my son was doing. They were following every step of his,” she told CNN.
Another uncle, Alvi Tsarnaev, told the Journal News in New York State that Tamerlan called him on Thursday night to ask for forgiveness.
“He said, ‘I love you and forgive me,’” Alvi Tsarnaev told the newspaper.
Most Boston residents were told to stay indoors Friday, leaving the streets of the usually vibrant city empty.
In Watertown, where Tamerlan Tzarnaev was killed, and Cambridge, where police warned they might have to carry out controlled explosions on bomb-building material found in the multi-family house where the two suspects are believed to have lived, families were told to evacuate their homes. It was unclear when they would be allowed to return.
Friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev expressed shock at the accusations against the teenager, saying he and his slain brother were “normal” and had assimilated into American life.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a talented boxer and “wanted to go pro,” while Dzhokhar had been given a wrestling scholarship, one friend said. A former classmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school, who asked not to be named, described the younger Tsarnaev as “a walking angel,” according to CNN.
“He was compassionate, jovial, forthcoming, a lovely, lovely kid. I’m not trying to protect him or cover up – this is what I know him to be. He was never a trouble-maker,” Larry Aaronson, a neighbor of Dzhokhar and former teacher at the high school he attended, told CNN.
But Eric Mercado, who graduated from Rindge and Latin in 2010, and knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told CNN that the bombing suspect had a conversation with a mutual friend, in which he said “terrorism wasn’t always a bad thing, when justified.”
Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya was ravaged by two brutal wars between federal troops and local forces in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The republic’s capital, Grozny, was devastated by some of the most intense aerial bombing of an urban area since World War II during the first of the two wars, which began in 1994, around the time Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born. While the first war hinged on separatism, the second had a strong Islamist strain.
But the region, especially Grozny, has experienced a period of relative calm in recent years since the Kremlin appointed a former anti-Moscow fighter, Ramzan Kadyrov, to rule there. Kadyrov and his personal army have been accused of human rights abuses, but he denies the charges.
Updated with breaking news of suspect captured, details in grafs 1-3.