– One of America’s biggest manhunts ended in a suburban backyard early on Saturday when a trail of blood led police to an accused Boston Marathon bomber hiding inside a boat.
Exhausted and wounded, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose brother was killed in a shootout earlier in the day, staged a final gun battle with his pursuers before he gave in.
“Captured!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And Justice has won. Suspect in custody,” the Boston Police Department said on Twitter after the capture. Police had only just held a news conference at which they virtually admitted Tsarnaev had escaped when the break came.
“A man had gone out of his house after being inside the house all day,” Boston Police chief Ed Davis told reporters, referring to a request officials made to residents to stay behind locked doors. “He saw blood on a boat in the backyard. He then opened the tarp on the top of the boat and he looked in and saw a man covered in blood.”
Celebrations erupted across the city, including around Bolylston Street in Central Boston – scene of Monday’s carnage. “Let’s go, Boston” and “USA, USA,” crowds chanted, with some people climbing onto car roofs while others danced in the streets.
President Barack Obama praised law enforcement officials in a White House statement, saying, “We’ve closed an important chapter in this tragedy.”
As about 30 law enforcement officers wearing helmets walked away from the scene of what had been a tense standoff only minutes earlier, neighbours who had gathered on an adjacent street applauded and shouted, “Thank you! Thank you!”
Mr Obama said he had directed federal law enforcement officials to continue to investigate what had happened, and urged people not to rush to judgement about the motivations behind the attacks.
The President said the bombing suspects had failed to achieve whatever it was they were seeking. “They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated. They failed because as Americans, we refuse to be terrorised.”
Tsarnaev’s arrest in neighbouring Watertown ended a wrenching week in Boston, which began with the bombings that killed three and injured more than 170 at one of the city’s most cherished events. It was the worst domestic attack on the US since the September 11, 2001, atrocities.
The week ended with another stunning spasm of violence, which began late on Thursday night. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, are accused of killing a police officer, hijacking a Mercedes and engaging police in a shootout in which the elder Tsarnaev was killed.
On Friday night, the city’s ordeal ended with a flood of relief.
At the scene, bystanders broke into applause. From a passing SWAT truck, an office returned the sentiment: “Thank you,” he said over the loudspeaker. “It’s been a pleasure.”
The height of the emotions revealed the depth of the damage done. In a few days, the Tsarnaevs had become a new lesson in the awful magnifying power of terrorism. Two brothers, armed with low-tech bombs and no apparent escape plan, had allegedly killed four people and held one of America’s great cities in terror.
Meanwhile, the FBI has confirmed that its agents in Boston had interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of a foreign government. A law enforcement official said the request came from the Russian government, concerned about Tsarnaev’s potential ties to Chechen terrorists. But, after that interview, the FBI did not follow him further, officials said.
As the manhunt ended on Friday, investigators turned to another task: determining how the two had been turned to violence. So far, authorities said they had no proof that anybody beyond the two Tsarnaev brothers was involved in the marathon attacks.
The endgame began on Thursday evening when authorities released photos of the two men, who had been spotted carrying backpacks near the Boston Marathon’s finish line. A few hours later, the pair began their violent rampage just across the Charles River in Cambridge.
After his brother was killed in the shootout, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled to a house just outside the search zone. By 6pm, officials conceded they had not found him and couldn’t be sure where he was. They lifted an order to residents to stay inside. Just after that, the resident in Watertown went outside and saw the blood. A police helicopter used infrared technology to spot movement under the plastic cover.
Inside was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had been wounded by the firefight hours earlier. He may have been injured again by the exchange of gunfire with officers that surrounded the boat. Officers tried to negotiate his surrender. There was no response. Finally, a robot pulled back the cover, and the SWAT team pulled him out. He was wounded in the leg and the neck.
As bystanders cheered, an ambulance carried him to Massachusetts General Hospital, where there were still 10 patients being treated for wounds inflicted by Monday’s bombing – Annie Gowen, Sari Horwitz & David Fahrenthold


About Jumpin' Jack Cash
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