– As their photographs spread rapidly across the internet, the Tsarnaev brothers decided to make their move.
Not waiting for police to find them, they gathered guns and homemade explosives for what became a final, bloody rampage on a community still in shock from the bombings three days before.
In less than 15 minutes late on Thursday, authorities said, the brothers fatally shot a campus police officer as he sat in his car, then hijacked a Mercedes-Benz SUV at gunpoint.
They held the driver hostage for 30 minutes as they scoured Boston’s western suburbs for ATMs from which to take the man’s cash.
It is unclear whether investigators knew the suspects’ names when they released photographs and videos of them along the marathon course about 5pm on Thursday.
Within minutes, the images circulated worldwide on the internet and television networks.
Law enforcement officials had hoped that wide distribution would bring clues. Instead, it appears to have jarred the Tsarnaevs into action. After apparently spending three days watching the aftermath of the bombings from nearby Cambridge, the two me left their apartment, heavily armed.
Whether they intended to flee the area or provoke a confrontation is unclear.
The following account was provided by law enforcement officials involved in the manhunt or in the bombing investigation.
Just after 10:30pm on Thursday, the pair walked up to a parked police car at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Sean Collier, 26, a campus officer, was nearing the end of his shift.
A security camera would later show two men approaching the car and speaking to the officer. Suddenly, one of the men was seen pulling a gun and shooting Mr Collier repeatedly, including once in the head.
Some officers concluded that the shooting was an effort to provoke a larger confrontation with police. “They were looking to start something,” one said.
Mr Collier was found in his car by other police and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. By then, the Tsarnaevs had moved on.
At 10:39pm, just blocks from the cruiser in which Mr Collier lay bleeding, the pair held up the driver of black Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Hijacking it, they drove through Cambridge to nearby Watertown, a middle-class suburb of 30,000 where they searched for ATMs. “They tell the driver they’re the bombers,” said a law enforcement official. The Tsarnaevs stopped at three ATMs and got $800 cash from one, using the SUV owner’s bank card.
Denied cash at other ATMs, the suspects dropped off the vehicle owner at a petrol station.
Just after midnight, police spotted the Mercedes-Benz and gave chase. It tore through the nearly empty streets of Watertown with many as a dozen police cars in pursuit. The officers had to dodge home-made bombs hurled from the speeding Mercedes.
At 12:50am, it stopped in a residential neighbourhood in Watertown. The brothers opened fire, starting a gun battle witnessed by neighbours.
One of them, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he saw two men engaged in constant gunfire with police.
After more than 200 rounds were traded over several minutes, some officers were out of ammunition and charged the brothers’ position with their police car. The vehicle was disabled by gunfire from the Mercedes.
Mr Kitzenberg said he saw one of the shooters toss a metallic object – possibly a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the one used in the marathon attack – in the direction of the police line. It rolled a few metres before detonating harmlessly.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now out of the car, tried to lob a pipe bomb at police, but it exploded in his hand. Police tackled and tried to subdue him while he was firing a pistol.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, apparently intending to help his brother, tried to ram the officers with the Mercedes.
Instead, the officers lunged out of the vehicle’s path and he ran over his brother and dragged him along the street before speeding off with police in pursuit.
Officers found the Mercedes abandoned and quickly sealed off neighbourhoods in Watertown as they began a street-by-street search.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Late on Friday afternoon, state and local authorities said they did not know Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s position. Just after 6pm the streets of Watertown came alive with sirens. Police had cornered the suspect, hiding in a boat behind a suburban home – Joby Warrick & Sari Horwitz

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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