Elation: Scene of Watertown Capture of Marathon Bombing Suspect

Watertown residents cheer the police officers and firefighters who brought the Boston Marathon Bomber into custody.

It took a few minutes, but when reality sank in that the second Boston Marathon bomber had been captured in Watertown – their town – the crowd’s mood changed; it became like a victory parade for a Red Sox world championship.

After watching the scene in the chilly damp night, being up all night and cooped up all day made, it was extra sweet when the words “suspect in custody” came over the police radio.

Two hours earlier, I had been contemplating a second helping of chicken stirfry when the words rarely heard in Watertown came crackling over the scanner: “Shots fired.”

My wife, Jen, and I froze and then went into a frenzy. We grabbed our coats and every camera we could get our hands on and jumped in the car. The scene was just two blocks away.

Mt. Auburn Street — Watertown’s main thoroughfare — was already blocked off when we got there. Dozens of police talked nervously. Then came a “pop, pop.” Then another, followed by a few more. It was not clear whether they were gas canisters, gun shots, or both.

The crowd hushed. I wondered what was happening on the other side of the houses I had stared at, seemingly for several hours. Police cars came and went. Men in heavy body armor and helmets began heading up the street. 

Then nothing. 

Everyone seemed nervous. Would the suspect be caputred dead or alive? Would he hurt or even kill an officer – possibly one I know personally?

Eventually, word got out — but people didn’t quite seem ready to believe it.

A crowd gathered around a car with its radio tuned to a news channel. People clapped when reports that the suspect was subdued and being put into an ambulance.

The chill quickly disappeared as the excitement rose. First one police car left – met with some clapping from the crowd. Then more cars rolled by, and finally one police officer waved and yelled “God Bless America! God Bless America!” 

That was it – the celebration was on. People crowded in, cheering louder and louder and yelling “Good job!” and “Thank You!”

A man turned to another and yelled “This is our town!”

Being a journalist, I do my best to remove emotion and concentrate on the story. But it was no use; the mood was infectious. Eventally I put down my camera and just watched.

I didn’t want to leave the scene, but stories had to be written.

It was an added bonus that I was able to share the moment with my wife, an ex-journalist. As we headed back to the car, it set in that we had just witnessed a historic moment of our town, our state and our nation. The man who had ruined the Boston Marathon and terrorized our town had been captured.

South End Patch