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Boston rejoices as bombing manhunt ends

Police detain Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, found hiding in boat in suburban backyard, after gunfight left him seriously injured.

Last Modified: 20 Apr 2013 23:03
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Police have captured a 19-year-old man suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings with his older brother after an intense day-long manhunt that shut down the city.

 

Follow the latest updates

Residents and police officers cheered and clapped when the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was caught on Friday after an exchange of gunfire with police.

He had been hiding in the stern of a boat parked in the backyard of a house in the suburb of Watertown, police said. A resident called officers after seeing blood on the boat.

Bleeding and in serious condition, he was admitted to a Boston hospital, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, Kelly Lawman, confirmed on Saturday that Tsarnaev was being treated there, but declined to comment on his condition.

The FBI would be providing any updates, she said. It was not yet clear when he would face initial charges.

The break in the case sent waves of relief and jubilation through Boston and Watertown, where armoured vehicles roamed the streets and helicopters flew overhead through the day.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Martin Reardon, Former Member of FBI Monitoring said Tsarnaev would not be read his Miranda rights because the government is invoking a public safety exception.

"When it is in the public's interest to get immediate information, and in this particular case, there could be an unexploded devices at home, in storage facility, somewhere else in the Watertown or Boston area.

"As long as that interrogation is focused, and in this case, it is focused on public safety, what is obtained during that interrogation is admissible in court," he said.

'Terror is over'

The normally traffic-clogged streets of Boston were empty as the city went into lockdown during the manhunt. Public transportation had been suspended and air space restricted.

 Profile of the Tsarnaev brothers

Famous universities, including Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), closed as police ordered residents to remain at home.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick lifted the "stay-in-place" order for Boston late on Friday afternoon.

Barack Obama, the US president, told reporters at the White House after the suspect's capture that questions remained over the bombings, including whether the two suspects received any help.

Monday's bombing has been described by Obama as "an act of terrorism".

It was the worst such attack on US soil since the plane hijackings of September 11, 2001, and set nerves on edge across the country with a series of security scares.

The Boston Police Department said in a message on social networking site Twitter: "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."

Public appeal

Dzhokhar is one of two brothers believed to have set off bombs made in pressure cookers and packed with ball bearings and nails at the finish line of the world-famous event, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others.

Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was taken to hospital in 'serious condition' after being captured [AFP]

The family of Martin Richard, an eight-year-old boy killed in the blast, cheered his capture.

"Tonight, our community is once again safe from these two men," the family said in a statement.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed on Thursday night in a shootout with police less than a kilometre from where Friday night's capture took place.

The FBI had publicised pictures of the two men on Thursday and asked the public for help in identifying them.

Hours after the photos were released, a furious sequence of events erupted, including the fatal shooting of a police officer on the campus of the MIT.

The night culminated in a firefight in Watertown during which police say the brothers threw bombs at officers. Tamerlan suffered fatal wounds, while the younger brother escaped on foot.

Earlier on Friday, officers went door-to-door in Watertown during the search for the men, two Black Hawk helicopters circled the area and SWAT teams moved through in formation.

'This is a setup'

Some details emerged on Friday about the brothers, including their origins in the predominantly Muslim regions of Russia's Caucasus, which have experienced two decades of violence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

 

Al Jazeera's David Chater reports from Dagestan's capital Makhachkala on Tsarnaev brothers roots

The younger brother described himself on a social network as belonging to a minority from a region that includes Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.

A man who told reporters he was an uncle of the brothers said the brothers came to the US in the early 2000s and settled in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, area.

Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in suburban Washington and has not spoken to the brothers since 2009, said the bombings "put a shame on our family. It put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity".

In separate interviews, the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers said they believed their sons were incapable of carrying out the bombings.

Others remembered the brothers as friendly and respectful youths who never stood out or caused alarm.

"Somebody clearly framed them. I don't know who exactly framed them, but they did," father Anzor Tsarnaev said in an interview with the Reuters news agency in Dagestan's provincial capital, Makhachkala, clasping his head in despair.

It's impossible, impossible, for both of them to do such things

Zubeidat Tsarnaev, mother 

"They framed them. And they were so cowardly that they shot the boy dead," he said.

The FBI said the twin blasts were caused by bombs in pressure cookers and carried in backpacks that were left near the marathon finish line as thousands of spectators gathered.

The mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, speaking in English, told a US media network: "It's impossible, impossible, for both of them to do such things, so I am really, really, really telling that this is a setup."

The bombings elicited a response from Moscow condemning terrorism and from the Russian-installed leader of Chechnya, who criticised police in Boston for killing an ethnic Chechen and blamed the violence on his upbringing in the US.

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Centre, the biggest mosque in the area, said in a statement that it was shutting its doors until further notice.

Image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found hiding in a boat in a suburban homeowner's backyard [AFP/CBS News]

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