With Capture of Second Bomber, Week of Terror Comes to End

New photos released by the FBI show a close-up shot of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

After 102 hours of terror, mourning, striving and struggle, police have killed one and captured the second marathon bomber suspects. With both of the bombers accounted for, law enforcement believe they have nabbed the men responsible for the deadliest domestic bombing attack in the 21st century.

A hair-raising Friday night chase and firefight led to the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier, the shooting of Transit Police officer Richard Donohue, a dead suspect and another in handcuffs. Along the way, nearly one million greater Boston residents were trapped in their homes as the suspects tossed explosives engaged in heavy arms fire with police, and finally (after one was killed) the survivor barricaded himself in a Watertown house.

The deadly night started on the MIT campus, when Collier was shot and killed after responding to an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven. The officer reportedly sustained multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office. The campus was placed in lock down around midnight.

Also around midnight, two men reportedly carjacked a Mercedes, taking the owner for a short ride before dumping him on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. The LoJack on the car located it in Watertown, where police responded.

That led to chaos in the streets as the suspects tossed explosives out of the car and then engaged police in an extended firefight, caught on video by Watertown residents in their homes. The exchange with police included explosions, according to police scanner transmissions. The seriously injured Donohue was taken to a local hospital and treated for a gun shot wound, according to a statement by the MBTA. 

As Boston police, the FBI, ATF and Homeland Security swarmed in Watertown, local police struggled to keep residents in their homes and media away from the active scene. NBC’s Pete Williams reported that one of the explosives found by police was fashioned out of a pressure cooker, similar to the bombs used Marathon Monday. That was later corroborated by law enforcement officials, who said the suspects also had pipe bombs and grenades.

In the wee hours of the morning, the names of the two suspects were released: Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev, two brothers originally from Chechnya. Tamerlan was killed in the Watertown gunfight, though its unclear if he was killed by police, blow himself up with a bomb vest, or was run over by his younger brother as Dzokhar frantically tried to escape capture.

By Friday morning, a terrible stasis developed in Watertown, with police converging a home near Dexter and Quimby streets. Watertown itself was completely locked down, with residents told to stay behind locked doors, and no car travel allowed in or out of the community.

All of Boston, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Brookline, and Cambridge were placed under a “Shelter-at-home” recommendation, with public officials imploring residents to stay locked in their homes.

The MBTA was completely shut down. Amtrack suspended service between Boston and Providence. Cab service was suspended in Boston. Businesses remain closed. A bustling city of 650,000 was suddenly a ghost town as the heavily armed fugitive remained out of police grasp.

Friday lingered along with greater Boston eerily quiet and little new information from police. By 6 p.m., Governor Deval Patrick lifted the T suspension and allowed residents to leave their homes.

By 7:30 p.m., however, Watertown erupted again in police activity, with waves of law enforcement officials crashing down to Franklin and Walnut streets. The suspect was pinned in a boat in a backyard. After an exchange of gunfire and the loud pops of flashbangs, Dzokhar Tsarnaev was captured.

Firefight ends terrible week in Boston’s history

Boston’s bloody week started at 2:49 p.m. Monday, when two explosives were triggered near the Boston Marathon finish line. Three people died and nearly 200 were injured by the blast.

Scores of victims, many with traumatic amputations, were taken to Boston’s emergency rooms, seriously stressing the greatest medical community in the world. Operating rooms across the city were used to perform amputations in some cases, and to save limbs in others. 

By Monday night, The FBI began to refer to the explosives as bombs. That night, several law enforcement agencies descended on an apartment building on Revere Beach, searching the unit of a man injured in the blast. Several news outlets, including Fox News and the New York Post, reported the man was a suspect in the case. Law enforcement officials said he was never a suspect and definitively cleared him by Tuesday morning.

Tuesday was punctuated with several false alarms of new explosive devices. Doctors at the hospitals, meanwhile, said they saw evidence of shrapnel intentionally placed within the explosives. By noon, the first reports that the bombers used pressure cookers as part of their explosive devices.

By Wednesday, a media storm had residents scratching their heads, with CNN, the Boston Globe and Associated Press erroneously reporting a suspect was arrested in the case. Law Enforcement officials strenuously denied the reports.

Meanwhile, reporters and cameras swarmed the Moakley Federal Courthouse in the Seaport district, hoping for a glimpse of the potential suspect. Instead, they watched as court employees were hustled out of the building after someone called in a bomb threat. 

On Thursday, President Barack Obama came to Healing Our City, an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End. Obama, Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino all gave rousing speeches extollng the city’s reslience in the face of terror.

Late Thursday afternoon, the FBI released video and photos of the bombing suspects. The images dominated local and national news until the late night MIT shooting and car chase.

South End Patch