EDITORS NOTE: At 8:45 p.m. on Friday, Dzokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat and was taken into custody. For more information on his arrest, click here.
Late last night, what started as a petty robbery from a 7-Eleven convenience store ended in more carnage, explosions and a violent shootout that left two dead.
After confusing reports from the police scanners, false identifications of alleged suspects, and a lockdown of the city, the facts about the connection between the Boston Marathon bombers and the Watertown shootout are becoming clearer.
Here is all we know about the shootout, the explosions, and the suspects.
At about 10:20 PM EST, a suspect, who resembled the FBI’s Suspect #2 (white cap), entered a 7-Eleven store near the campus of MIT in Cambridge. That suspect was armed and police were notified.
UPDATE: The Boston Police Department retracted the original report that the brothers were involved in an armed robbery at the 7-Eleven store.
The MIT Officer:
Just moments later, as an MIT officer responded to a disturbance in the area of Vassar and Main streets, suspects opened fire and shot him multiple times.
The officer, Sean Collier of Somerville, died from his injuries. He was only 26-years-old.
Right after the shooting, the two suspects, who we now know are brothers Dzokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, carjack a man in Cambridge who is driving a black Mercedes SUV. They hold him hostage for 30-minutes while trying to use his cash card to get money from three ATM’s. According to NBC they put in the wrong number at the first ATM; at the second, they took out $800 and at the third, they were told they had exceeded the withdrawal limit. He told police the brothers said they were the marathon bombers and had just killed a campus officer. Authorities are notified and police track the car, which they find in the Watertown area of Massachusetts.
When the police started to chase the SUV through Watertown, the suspects opened fire. The gun exchange between police and suspects remained heavy for a while. Watch this video, taken by a resident of Watertown:
The suspects also tossed explosives out the car. Authorities confirmed that the brothers threw one grenade and five pipe bombs (three exploded, two did not). Police also found homemade explosives, another pressure cooker, and 200 spent rounds of ammunition at the Watertown crime scene. Authorities say that 15 officers sustained injuries from the firefight and were taken to the hospital.
The Death Of Suspect No. 1:
Suspect No. 1, also known as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was injured in the exchange of gunfire.
Tsarnaev would later be identified as the guy who was seen in the FBI surveillance video wearing a black hat. He was declared dead at Beth Israel Hospital early Friday morning with gunshot and blast wounds after the early-morning battle, doctors said. He was 26-years-old.
A gruesome photo of Tamerlan in death has been released. It shows the lifeless corpse riddled with bullet holes. There is a huge gash in the ribcage area, possibly from the explosions. His face, covered in blood. To see the graphic photo, click here.
The Manhunt For Suspect No. 2:
Police have been searching for suspect no. 2, now infamous for wearing a white hat in the FBI surveillance camera (Dzokhar Tsarnaev).
Tsarnaev reportedly got away using a vehicle, which authorities described as a gray CRV with MA Plate 316-ES9. Police found that car, unoccupied, this morning and are now processing it as evidence. Police say that Tsarnaev is heavily armed with a rifle and explosives, and suggest that he is prepared to hurt people or take hostages.
Gov. Deval Patrick has shut down all mass transit and residents in Boston are being told to stay inside and not open doors, except for a police officer. Officers are now going door-to-door searching for Tsarnaev. Taxi service, however, has been resumed.
Vehicle traffic also was barred in and out of Watertown and Harvard, MIT, Boston College and other universities and public schools said they would be closed Friday for safety reasons.
UPDATE: As of 6:00 PM EST, the request to stay indoors has been lifted and the Boston mass transit system has resumed service. Gov. Deval Patrick urges residents to be vigilant.
The Other Car:
Although the two brothers carjacked the Merceded SUV, Gilberto Junior, a Somerville mechanic, claims he took care of the two suspects cars on Tuesday. Joe Bearto Junior said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev came by to pick up his girlfriend’s car, a Mercedes with a missing bumper. The mechanics, who had worked on the brothers cars for about a year and a half, said they were usually clean-cut and nice guys – but on Tuesday they seemed in a hurry.
Junior said he feels betrayed. Almost in tears, he said he feels guilty that he had the suspect and he let him go because he didn’t know who he really was.
The Suspect’s Affiliation:
It is speculated that the brothers were calling for Chechen independence, however, the Chenchen President blames their American upbringing on the events that have unfolded:
The Statement From their Father, Anzor Tsarnaev:
The Statement From their Mother, Zubeidat K. Tsarnaeva
“I am 100 percent sure that this is a setup,” she said. “My two sons are really innocent and neither of them have ever talked about what they said now.”
The Statement From Uncle Ruslan Tsarni:
The brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, gave the media an idea of why they might have set out on their rampage. He said he didn’t believe that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had an ideological motive but called them “losers–not being able to settle themselves [in America] and thereby just hating everyone who did.” He also pleaded for them to turn themselves in.
The statement From Toronto Aunt Maret Tsarnaeva:
The aunt of the two suspects in the Boston bombings says she doesn’t believe they were involved in the crime and says the FBI has no evidence other than pictures of the two young men walking on the street near the finish line.
Maret Tsarnaeva, who lives in Toronto, told CBC News by phone Friday that she hadn’t yet contacted her brother Anzor, 46, who is the father of the two men, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
For a brief roundup of what happened overnight, take a look at this mini-timeline:
The crime scene remains active as the story develops.