Interrogators ready to question hospitalized bombing suspect

Watertown, Mass. — The Globe and Mail

Law enforcement officers with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during his arrest in this handout photo provided by the Massachusetts State Police in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013. (HANDOUT/REUTERS)

The second "violent and dangerous" suspect in Monday's bombings which killed three people at the Boston Marathon was taken into custody Friday after a dramatic gunbattle with police.

Cheers erupted from people in the streets of Watertown, a suburb of Boston where an intense day-long search for the fugitive had kept them locked in their homes all day, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was whisked by ambulance to a local hospital.

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A spokeswoman for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Kelly Lawman, confirmed on Saturday that Tsarnaev was being treated there, but declined comment on his condition. The FBI would be providing any updates, she said.

U.S. officials said a special interrogation team for high-value suspects would question him without reading him his Miranda rights, invoking a rare public safety exception triggered by the need to protect police and the public from immediate danger.

It was not yet clear when he would face initial charges.

The fast-moving events capped five days of turmoil after the most lethal terror event on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks and brought closure to an extraordinary search – a surreal and violent spectacle of gunshots, uniforms and flashing lights that riveted a nation for 22 chaotic hours Thursday and Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama later spoke for many Americans when he wondered aloud about what could drive anyone to commit a crime as horrendous as the bombings which also maimed more than 170 people.

"Tonight, there are many unanswered questions," he said while speaking from the White House. "The family of those killed so senselessly deserve answers. Tonight, we think of all the wounded still struggling to recover. The wounded, some of whom now have to learn how to stand, walk and live again, deserve answers . . .

"Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?" he asked.

Tsarnaev was captured Friday as he hid in the stern of a boat parked in the backyard of a house after a resident alerted officials to a trail of blood leading to the vessel.

State police said they used a helicopter equipped with infrared sensors to confirm he was in the hiding place, then exchanged gunfire with Tsarnaev before boarding the boat and capturing him.

“We got him,” Boston’s mayor, Thomas Menino, declared in a tweet. “People of the Boston area can sleep tonight."

"We are so grateful to . . . bring justice and closure to this case," Colonel Timothy Alben, head of the Massachusetts State Police told the same news conference. "We’re exhausted, but we have a victory here tonight."

"It's a night where I think we're all going to rest easy," Governor Deval Patrick chimed in.

As many as 20 gunshots were fired as heavily armed police surrounded the boat about 7 p.m. ET.

The arrest came less than 24 hours after the suspect's brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a gun and explosives battle with authorities. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped on foot after that battle, authorities said.

The two brothers had set off a manhunt Thursday night, just five hours after the FBI released their photos to the public.

The suspects killed a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They then shot and critically injured a transit police officer, carjacked an SUV, sparked a frenetic police chase that led to Watertown, tossed explosive devices likened to grenades from the car and exchanged gunfire that ricocheted across the sleepy community.

In the melee, Tamerlan was shot and Dzhokhar, ran over him with an SUV in his desperate bid to flee.

Police collected 200 bullet rounds from the Thursday battle and spent several hours Friday rendering exploded and unexploded devices safe.

The family of the Tsarnaev brothers comes from Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamist insurgency stemming from separatist wars, but the brothers spent much of their lives away from the breakaway Russian republic.

There were wildly conflicting reports Friday about the brothers.

A profile on the Russian social networking website V Kontaktye that appears to belong to Dzhokhar identifies himself as Chechen,  says he speaks the Chechen language, and identifies his worldview as “Islam.” He belongs to online groups supportive of the Chechen independence movement.

A YouTube channel that apparently belongs to Tamerlan suggests the older brother may have been more extreme in his beliefs. Among the videos listed as his “favourites” are several sermons from Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, a Lebanese-Australian preacher who has said Muslims should raise their children to be holy warriors.

People who knew them struggled to understand what had happened to two young men who had lived in the United States for a decade and attained some measure of stability.

Dzhokhar was described by friends as a happy if quiet university student, a dedicated wrestler who would return to his high school to mentor younger team members. His father called him “the pride of the family” and hoped a good education would be his path to success.

Tamerlan was the extroverted sibling, who once had a taste for nightclubs and dabbled with acting and pro boxing. But he became a devout Muslim who shunned alcohol, prayed five times a day and had fathered a young child.

“I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them,” he told a photographer four years ago.

While Dzhokhar was nice and quiet, Tamerlan was “a loser,” an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said.

Mr. Tsarni speculated that his nephews could have been disillusioned about life as a newcomer in the United States.

The brothers had become “losers [with a] hatred of those who were able to settle themselves,” Mr. Tsarni told journalists outside his Maryland home.

A cousin, Zaur Tsarnaev, told The Boston Globe that he had warned Dzhokhar to stay away from his elder brother, who was “up to no good.”

Other relatives disagreed.

The Toronto aunt of the brothers said Friday she needs to see far more proof of her nephews’ involvement before she believes they were behind the deadly blasts.

“I do not believe these two boys have done that act of atrocity, killing those people on the streets,” said Maret Tsarnaeva in the lobby of the Etobicoke apartment complex where she lives. “I will not believe that until I get evidence.”

The brothers' parents also expressed disbelief.

Earlier Friday, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said the two suspects had collected pipe bombs, grenades and improvised explosive devices before they confronted police Thursday.

“They clearly amassed a small arsenal of explosives,” said Mr. Ruppersberger, a member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee who was briefed by authorities.

With reports from The Associated Press, Reuters

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