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Final shootout, then Boston bombing suspect caught

By Jay Lindsay

Associated Press

Published: Friday, April 19 2013 11:00 a.m. MDT

Police officers guard the entrance to Franklin street where there is an active crime scene search for suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, Friday, April 19, 2013, in Watertown, Mass. Gunfire erupted Friday night amid the manhunt for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, and police in armored vehicles and tactical gear rushed into the Watertown neighborhood in a possible break in the case. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Matt Rourke, AP

WATERTOWN, Mass. — For just a few minutes, it seemed as if the dragnet that had shut down a metropolitan area of millions while legions of police went house to house looking for the suspected Boston Marathon bomber had failed.

Weary officials lifted a daylong order that had kept residents in their homes, saying it was fruitless to keep an entire city locked down. Then one man emerged from his home and noticed blood on the pleasure boat parked in his backyard. He lifted the tarp and found the wounded 19-year-old college student known the world over as Suspect No. 2.

Soon after that, the 24-hour drama that paralyzed a city and transfixed a nation was over.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture touched off raucous celebrations in and around Boston, with chants of "USA, USA" as residents flooded the streets in relief and jubilation after four tense days since twin explosions ripped through the marathon's crowd at the finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 180.

The 19-year-old — whose older brother and alleged accomplice was killed earlier Friday morning in a wild shootout in suburban Boston — was in serious condition Saturday at a hospital protected by armed guards, and he was unable to be questioned to determine his motives. 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.

President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered questions about the Boston bombings, including whether the two men had help from others. He urged people not to rush judgment about their motivations.

Dzhokhar and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were identified by authorities and relatives as ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade and were believed to be living in Cambridge, just outside Boston. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early in the day of gunshot wounds and a possible blast injury. He was run over by his younger brother in a car as he lay wounded, according to investigators.

During a long night of violence Thursday and into Friday, the brothers killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman during a gun battle and hurled explosives at police in a desperate getaway attempt, authorities said.

Late Friday, less than an hour after authorities lifted the lockdown, they tracked down the younger man holed up in the boat, weakened by a gunshot wound after fleeing on foot from the overnight shootout with police that left 200 spent rounds behind.

The resident who spotted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his boat in his Watertown yard called police, who tried to persuade the suspect to get out of the boat, said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

"He was not communicative," Davis said.

Instead, he said, there was an exchange of gunfire — the final volley of one of the biggest manhunts in American history.

The violent endgame unfolded just a day after the FBI released surveillance-camera images of two young men suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives at the marathon's finish line, an attack that put the nation on edge for the week.

Watertown residents who had been told Friday morning to stay inside behind locked doors poured out of their homes and lined the streets to cheer police vehicles as they rolled away from the scene.

Celebratory bells rang from a church tower. Teenagers waved American flags. Drivers honked. Every time an emergency vehicle went by, people cheered loudly.

"They finally caught the jerk," said nurse Cindy Boyle. "It was scary. It was tense."

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