Crowds mob scene of Friday shootout

By Lesley Clark

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Saturday, April 20 2013 11:40 p.m. MDT

A crowd gathers at Boston Common after the final suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was arrested, Friday, April 19, 2013, in Boston. Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in Watertown, Mass. The 19-year-old college student wanted in the bombings was taken into custody Friday evening after a manhunt that left the city virtually paralyzed and his older brother and accomplice dead. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


WATERTOWN, Mass. — College rowing teams raced down the Charles River and news crews began pulling out of the Watertown Mall parking lot Saturday, ceding it to weekend shoppers, as a sense of normalcy began returning to a town terrorized by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.

In Boston, the Red Sox returned to Fenway Park for the first time since before the explosions, wearing white shirts that read "Boston."

But along Franklin Street, where a wounded and bloodied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — spotted hiding in a stored boat in his back yard by an alert homeowner — surrendered Friday to police after an exchange of gunfire, investigators were still at work, searching for clues while shaken neighborhood residents looked for consolation.

"It was frightening," said Namita Kiran, 48, who lives on nearby Barnard Avenue and was drawn Saturday to the police barricades, sharing tales with neighbors. Franklin, roped off with police lines, served as a greeting place, as neighbors strolled down to see where the week's events had culminated, kids, dogs and a cup of coffee in hand.

Like the others, Kiran had spent most of Friday behind closed doors, shades lowered. Watertown police called — twice — at 2 a.m. — to warn her against going outside after a spectacular shootout with two suspects, who'd lobbed explosives and fired scores of shots.

New details emerged throughout the day of the confrontation and search that had paralyzed the region.

Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveaux told CNN Saturday that Dzhokhar Tsarneav probably killed his elder brother, Tamerlan, when he fled during the confrontation with police. Deveaux said officers had subdued Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who'd run out of ammunition, and were handcuffing him when Dzhokhar roared toward them in his escape vehicle, sending the police scattering and crushing his brother under the wheels. Tamerlan was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The younger Tsarnaev abandoned the vehicle, and disappeared into the darkness on foot.

The intensity of the confrontation was startlingly evident on Saturday in the Watertown neighborhood where the Tsarnaev brothers faced off with police.

Bullet holes marred at least four houses along Laurel Street, which was pitted and blackened where the Tsarnaevs had hurled explosives at police. Broken glass littered the street.

Shrapnel tears could be seen on the third-floor soffit of one house where a family with a 3-week-old infant had huddled during the battle. The home's fence was riddled with bullets holes.

"I don't even know if it's settled in yet," said James Floyd, 36, who moved to the house five months ago from Columbia, S.C. "The fact that no one got hurt is unbelievable" — a reference to the street's residents.

A blood stain about 30 feet long, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body was dragged, remained visible on the pavement, much bigger at the end than the beginning. Dozens of curiosity seekers milled about the street.

It was area residents' first chance to view the scene, which had touched off a door-to-door search by thousands of police officers and an unprecedented regionwide lockdown that halted public transportation and business throughout the Boston area.

Many Watertown neighbors had their entire homes swept, with police aware that the town is so friendly that many people don't bother to lock their basement doors. At one point, police searched Kiran's backyard shed.

Nervous, Kiran persuaded her husband to inspect their basement and to check on an elderly neighbor.

"We began to wonder when it would end," she said.

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