60 Minutes: Boston Bombings
The Boston Bombings riveted the nation and left a lot of unanswered questions after terrorists planted bombs at the Boston Marathon April 15. The 100-hour manhunt ended with a capture on Friday, April 19. Boston police commissioner Ed Davis talked exclusively to 60 Minutes about this developing story, and surviving suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev.
60 Minutes: Patriots’ Day
Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts holiday, marks the start of the American Revolution. But this year, horrific events put the police in defensive mode after a day of revelry. Ed Davis said his officer, Michael Barrett, jumped into the carnage and put out a man who was on fire, for example.
Davis said he resolved to get accountability in this case from the first moments. Three people were killed and about 170 were wounded in the bombings. The city collaborated with the state police and the FBI to quickly get the investigation going.
60 Minutes: Boston Marathon Investigation
Bomb parts were readily available at the scene, and investigators scrambled to find locations to process evidence and stage a command center. Officers also started investigating photos and videos, looking for people who seemed calm amid chaos.
Two faces eventually stood out as unconcerned. Further examination of the footage proved that Dzhohkar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan entered the scene with backpacks, but left without them. The boys, from Chechnya, fled to the US in 2002 seeking asylum due to civil war with Russia.
60 Minutes: Dzhohkar Tsarnaev Manhunt
Scott Pelley also spoke with Rose Schurtzberg, a classmate of Dzhohkar’s at the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School. She recalled him as “smart, but also humble and…incredibly funny.” He even became a US citizen in 2012.
Other classmates and friends, his classmates at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, did not recall him as being religious. They said he declined an opportunity to join their Muslim Student Organization.
60 Minutes: Tamerlan Tsarnaev
His hobbies included soccer and cars. One fellow student said he never would have imagined Dzhohkar could be responsible for the carnage at the Boston Marathon. His older brother, Tamerlan, an amateur boxer who lived in Cambridge with a wife and child, was frustrated that he could not compete in Olympic boxing because he was not a citizen.
A neighbor, Al Ammon, recalled getting into an argument with Tamerlan, who reportedly called the Bible “a cheap copy of the Koran” and cited its use by the government to defend invasion of other countries. Apparently he believed that the US was attempting to colonize Africa and the Middle East.
60 Minutes: Tamerlan Tsarnaev FBI Investigation
Russian intelligence tipped the FBI in 2011 about Tamerlan’s so-called “strong beliefs,” but agents concluded that he was not a threat after an interview. The man also recently spent six months in Russia.
On Thursday, April 18, the FBI did not have names for either of its suspects. But hours after releasing video images of the suspects, violence exploded once again on the streets of Boston. As someone who watched this story unfold on the news, it was remarkable how quickly information developed Thursday night into Friday morning.
60 Minutes: Officer Sean Collier
Ed Davis speculated that the brothers decided to go on the defense, murdering Officer Sean Collier and hijacking a car. Gunshots and explosions broke out on the streets of Watertown, Massachusetts.
MBTA Richard Donohue was wounded in the firefight, which included exploding devices that Davis called “improvised hand grenades.” Amateur video captured the noise and loud rounds of gunfire, which raged on until a suspect ran out of ammo.
60 Minutes: Boston Lockdown
Next, a police officer tackled one of the suspects, despite the clear danger to everyone in the scenario. Davis said that was probably not an advisable move, but the officer acted in a moment of opportunity. The man he tackled was Tamerlan, who was mortally wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
Next, Dzhohkar fled the scene in a vehicle, backing over his brother, who lay dying in the street. He quickly abandoned the car and fled on foot, leading to a citywide lockdown and an extensive search of a 20-block area in Boston.
60 Minutes: Dzhohkar Tsarnaev Boat
At the Tsarnaev apartment, investigators discovered even more bombs. A 15-hour search turned up nothing, and Davis faced the public, despite the frustration of authorities. About 15 minutes after the police announced that their search had been unsuccessful, they got the tip they had been waiting for.
A man went outside to smoke a cigarette and saw that the boat in his back yard was covered in blood. After peering inside and seeing a body, he alerted investigators. At the scene, more gunfire was exchanged. Eventually, a state police helicopter used heat imaging to determine that Dzhohkar was inside.
60 Minutes: Boston Marathon Mystery
George MacMasters, a neighbor, assumed that the suspect was killed by gunfire, which would have left many unanswered questions. By coincidence, MacMasters formerly employed Dzhohkar as a lifeguard. Where did his life take such a turn, the man wondered.
There are many mysteries still to be answered as the investigation continues. An FBI negotiator was able to talk him out of the boat, where he was taken into custody and treated for his injuries, including a gunshot wound through the mouth and neck.
60 Minutes: Boston Red Sox
Finally, the Boston Red Sox honored the lives that were lost during a terrible week for the city, as well as the thousands of authorities who were able to bring this investigation to a quick resolution. Pelley noted this as an honor, because the Sox are “the second-oldest sporting institution in the city, after the Boston Marathon.”
Though Dzhohkar is still a suspect and must go through criminal court proceedings if he survives his injuries, a lot of unanswered questions remain. Hopefully, Boston can get back to feeling safe, but they are likely going to be on high alert as this story continues to unfold.