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Boston manhunt: Gunfire, explosions, suspect dead, officer dead, city locked down

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 11:43 a.m. CST

BOSTON (MCT)  — An extensive manhunt for a suspect linked to the Boston Marathon bombings was underway Friday morning after a night of terror and violence left another suspect dead, one police officer killed and one wounded.

Armored police SWAT teams in assault vehicles officers wearing bulletproof vests swarmed through the suburb of Watertown in house-to-house searches while officials asked everyone in the Boston metropolitan area to stay off the streets.

The region, jittery since Monday’s two bombings, was effectively shut down as transportation systems were closed and flights were restricted. Officials warned residents not to let anyone in their homes unless they had proper identification.

“There is a massive manhunt underway with a lot of law enforcement involved,” Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday morning. “We’ve got every asset that we can possibly muster on the road right now.”

The dead suspect was identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is the target of the police search, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

The two are believed to be from Chechnya, a war-torn region linked to terrorist activity in the past. Sources told The Times that the brothers have been in the United States for a decade. The family had been granted asylum, according to a law enforcement official.

Neither brother has been tied to any terror organization abroad “at this point,” an FBI source told The Times on Friday morning. “That’s the big question,” he added. “It would certainly change things.”

The brother who was being sought was apparently wounded in an earlier firefight; authorities said they have found blood spots during the manhunt.

Authorities also said they are worried he might have invaded a home seeking hostages. “I wouldn’t think someone like this would kill himself,” the FBI source said.

Officials surrounded a house in Watertown Friday morning, a repeat of scenes throughout the night as residents’ fears were magnified with every law enforcement move.

The night of chaos began just hours after authorities released images of the suspects in the bombings at the finish line area of the marathon. Three people died in the explosions that came within seconds and within 100 yards of each other. More than 170 people were wounded, and a dozen remain in critical condition.

The pictures showed two men, one wearing a black baseball-style cap, Tamerlan, the other, Dzhokhar, wearing a reversed white cap.

They were seen in surveillance video carrying backpacks as they mingled among runners and joyous relatives at the end of the grueling 26.2-mile race. Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said the suspect in the white hat was seen setting down a bag at the site of the second of two deadly explosions.

About 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, police said, authorities received reports that a convenience store near the Massacusetts Institute of Technology was being robbed. Moments later, an MIT officer was shot several times in his vehicle near the Stata Center on the campus, they said.

The officer, Sean Collier, 26, was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had been an officer since January 2012, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said.

A short time later, police said, two men carjacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint. The owner was released at a gas station, on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, about 30 minutes later, they said.

The SUV fled on Memorial Drive toward Watertown followed by a posse of police vehicles in pursuit.

At one point, authorities said, the two suspects opened fire in Watertown, throwing grenades and engaging in a firefight with police in the area of Dexter and Laurel streets.

The elder brother was killed in the firefight, police said, and the younger one took flight.

Transit police officer Richard H. Donohue Jr., on the force for three years, was injured in the pursuit, officials said. He was listed in stable condition in Mt. Auburn Hospital on Friday morning.

The dead suspect was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shortly after 1 a.m., police said. First-responders reported that he had vital signs at the scene, but appeared to have bled to death by the time he arrived at the hospital, sources said.

The suspect had what looked to be gunshot wounds on his right side and some sort of blast wound, sources said. The back of his skull was essentially torn off from the force, they said.

In Washington, President Obama convened a briefing with his national security team to discuss events in the Boston area, the White House said.

———

©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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