Boston, April 20 (IANS) The massive manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings ended Friday night with the dramatic capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, after a 23-hour search that had completely shut down Boston.
One of America’s oldest cities, Boston is a famed centre of international learning and medicine with over 100 universities and colleges, including the Ivy League Harvard University in its suburb of Cambridge.
Announcing the arrest on Twitter, Boston police tweeted: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who escaped an overnight shootout with police that left his older brother Tamerlan, 26, dead, was cornered late Friday as he was hiding on a boat in a backyard of Watertown, a suburb of Boston.
The two brothers are reportedly from Chechnya, the disputed Muslim region of Russia. The younger Tsarnaev came to the US as a tourist with his family in the early 2000s and later asked for asylum, according to CNN.
He became a naturalised US citizen in 2012. Tamerlan was not a naturalized citizen, CNN said citing a federal official. He came “a few years later” and was lawfully in the US as a green-card holder.
The younger Tsarnaev was in serious condition, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said at a news conference. He was being treated at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre hospital spokesperson Kelly Lawman said.
According to Davis police were alerted to his whereabouts by a man who went outside after authorities lifted an order for residents to stay inside during the manhunt.
The resident saw blood on a boat in the backyard, Davis said. He then lifted up the tarp covering the boat and “saw a man covered with blood,” he said.
“There was an exchange of gunfire, and I don’t know if he was struck,” Davis said of the suspect.
Authorities, using a bullhorn, had called on the suspect to surrender: “Come out with your hands up.” But Tsarnaev refused to surrender.
“We used a robot to pull the tarp off the boat,” David Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police was quoted as saying by CNN.
“We were also watching him with a thermal imaging camera in our helicopter. He was weakened by blood loss — injured last night most likely,”
In a televised address after the second suspect’s capture President Barack Obama vowed to find out the motives behind Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left about 180 injured in the first major terror attack on American soil after 9/11.
“Obviously, tonight, there are still many unanswered questions,” Obama said even as he declared that “We’ve closed an important chapter in this tragedy.”
The government is invoking the public safety exception to question Tsarnaev, CNN said citing a Justice Department official.
This means in cases of national security a person can be questioned without being read their Miranda rights, a warning given by police in the US to criminal suspects before interrogation to protect oneself against self-incrimination.
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for Tsarnaev to be held as an enemy combatant.
Obama was again briefed Friday by his top national security team as the massive manhunt for the second suspect continued.
He also spoke by phone Friday night with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who “expressed his condolences on behalf of the Russian people” for the Boston terror victims, according to a White House statement,.