WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) – The two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle overnight that left one of them dead and his brother on the loose, authorities said Friday as thousands of officers swarmed the streets in a manhunt that all but paralyzed the Boston area.
The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle .
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His brother, a 19-year-old college student who was dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday’s deadly bombing at the marathon finish line – escaped.
The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the unfolding case.
Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay indoors as the hunt for Suspect No. 2 went on. Businesses were asked not to open. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home.
From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents with armored vehicles surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead.
Authorities gave no details on how he escaped, but said he may have been in a Honda CRV that was found later in the morning in Boston.
“We believe this man to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people.”
The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and instantly raising the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Authorities have shed no light on the motive for the attack and have said it is unclear whether it was the work of domestic or international terrorists or someone else entirely with an unknown agenda.
The endgame – at least for Suspect No. 1 – came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of the two young men at the finish line and appealed to the public for help in identifying and capturing them. Tips came pouring in to the FBI immediately, but exactly how authorities managed to close in on the two was not immediately disclosed.
The men’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the brothers traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the school said. The campus closed down along with other colleges around the Boston area.
Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is “a true angel.”
He said his son was studying medicine. “He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here,” the father said.