By Will Edwards and Stan Honda | AFP
WATERTOWN, Massachusetts – Thousands of heavily armed police staged a house-to-house hunt Friday for a teenager suspected of carrying out the Boston marathon bombings with his brother, who was killed in a wild shootout.
One police officer was shot dead and another wounded in a violent cavalcade led by the two men, Muslims believed to be of Chechen origin, that left much of the Boston region – an area with roughly 900,000 people – in a lockdown.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, defied the massive hunt force after his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan was shot and suffered critical injuries from explosives believed to have been tied to his body.
The surviving fugitive was found inside a house in the Boston suburbs where the police said “he could be hiding in a boat in the backyard,” reports said.
At 6:45 pm Boston Police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody. Ten minutes later a new post stated: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
Police squads and armored personnel carriers raced to Watertown in the evening hours and police helicopters buzzed overhead following a burst of gunfire erupted soon after authorities had told reporters the manhunt had not moved forward.
The Boston Globe quoted a source as saying police had the teenage suspect “pinned down.” CNN said police believed they had the suspect surrounded in a boat in a backyard, with a 40-gallon tank of fuel aboard.
An alert since two bombs tore through crowds at the Boston Marathon on Monday – killing three people and wounding about 180 – reached a feverish peak in the hours after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released pictures of the two on Thursday.
The brothers, legal residents of the United States, tried to rob a convenience store near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge late Thursday. They then went to the prestigious university where a campus police officer was killed in a first shootout, according to police.
“In my opinion, my children were set up by the secret services because they are practising Muslims,” Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the victims, told the Interfax news agency from the North Caucasus Russian city of Makhachkala, earlier Friday. “Why did they kill Tamerlan? They should have taken him alive,” he said.
He added that the younger brother Dzhokhar is in hiding. He was a second-year student in a medical university. “We were waiting for him to come back [to Russia] for the holidays.”
“Now I do not know what will happen,” he said.
This story was updated at 6:23 p.m.