Sat April 20, 2013
The Search For Answers In Boston: Why? How? Anyone Else?
Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 9:47 am
(Most recent update: 5:10 p.m. ET)
With the capture Friday night of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old surviving suspect in the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the story moves into a new phase — one of trying to answer critical questions.
-- Was anyone else involved?
Authorities hope to get many answers from Tsarnaev himself. As NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said on All Things Considered, with the death earlier Friday of the suspect's 26-year-old brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, investigators hope Dzhokhar will tell them "if there are other people involved [and] if perhaps there are other bombs elsewhere."
Tsarnaev remained in a Boston-area hospital Saturday. Authorities say he had multiple injuries, including gunshot wounds to his neck and leg. Speaking at Fenway Park Saturday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick answered questions about Tsarnaev's health by saying it is "serious but stable... I think, not able to communicate yet."
Tsarnaev was involved in two gun battles Friday. An MIT University campus officer was killed late Thursday, and another police officer was wounded during a manhunt that had Watertown, Mass., and much of the Boston metropolitan area under lockdown most of Friday. The shooting of the officers followed the heavy toll from the marathon bombings — three dead and more than 170 people wounded.
As NPR's Carrie Johnson reported Friday night, a Department of Justice official tells her that Tsarnaev will not be read his Miranda rights for now. "We plan to invoke the public safety exception to Miranda in order to question the suspect extensively about other potential explosive devices or accomplices and to gain critical intelligence," the official said.
There are reports that at least three people who lived in New Bedford, Mass., near where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended college, are being questioned. Authorities also detained at least one man in the early hours of Friday as they searched for Tsarnaev.
We'll be following the news. Come back to this post for the latest developments, and look for related news in other posts throughout the day. (Check this note for how we cover stories on days like this.)
Update at 5:10 p.m. ET. Suspect In 'Serious But Stable' Condition; Sports Teams Try To Give Boston A Lift:
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick describes Tsarnaev's health Saturday as "serious but stable... I think, not able to communicate yet."
The Boston Globe's headline today is "Let The Healing Begin." The city's sports teams tried to help, with the Bruins wearing police caps before their game, and the Celtics wearing yellow warm-up jerseys that will be auctioned to raise money for bombing victims.
And after the Red Sox held a commemorative ceremony, the team mounted a comeback win that roused the crowd.
The Sox' David Ortiz also won applause with his remarks, as he told the audience, "This is our (expletive) city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Injuries, And Possible Charges:
When he was apprehended in a residential area, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was suffering from gunshot wounds to his neck and leg, says CBS correspondent John Miller, who reports that "this is a guy who was very weak at this point and probably — had he not been discovered — he might not have lived." The suspect remains in serious condition, as of the latest FBI update.
If he survives, Tsarnaev may face state murder charges as well as federal terrorism charges, CNN reports, citing a Justice Department source.
Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. Work At Crime Scenes May Be Slowed By Weather:
One of her law enforcement sources tells NPR's Carrie Johnson that investigators have much work to do today at the various crime scenes in Watertown, Cambridge and Boston. They also caution that the work may be slowed by weather in the area. There's rain in today's forecast.
Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. FBI's 2011 Interview Of Tamerlan Tsarnaev Likely To Raise Questions:
There was word Friday night, as we reported, that in 2011 the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the request of an unidentified foreign government. As NPR's Corey Flintoff reports on Weekend Edition Saturday, that "could well have been Russia, which has reason to fear terrorist attacks after a long history of turmoil in the North Caucasus." The Tsarnaev family's ethnic roots trace back to Chechnya."
Late Friday, the FBI released a statement that says, in part:
"The FBI reviewed its records and determined that in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups.
"In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history. The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government."
Time magazine's Swampland blog predicts that the FBI's handling of that 2011 request for information and subsequent interview of Tamerlan Tsarnaev will raise many questions from members of Congress.
Update at 9:05 a.m. ET. Homeowner's Step Outside Led To Discovery Of Flapping Tarp, Pool Of Blood And The Fugitive:
The Watertown homeowner who tipped police off that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be hiding in a boat had stepped outside for a breath of fresh air Friday evening after authorities said it was OK for residents to leave their homes, the man's stepson told CNN's Piers Morgan.
Robert Duffy told CNN that his stepfather, David Henneberry, noticed something odd. The tarp over the boat stored in his backyard was flapping in the wind. It was the same tarp that had held firm through several blizzards over the winter.
"He got closer and realized that one of the retention straps had literally been cut — not chafed, not broken or unhooked," Duffy told CNN. And Henneberry then saw blood on the tarp. He got up on a stepladder to look inside. "He basically stuck his head under the tarp [and] noticed a pool of blood," Duffy said.
Moments later, according to Duffy, Henneberry was calling 911. Police were quickly on the scene. Within just a couple of hours, after a brief gunbattle and the arrival of a police negotiator, Tsarnaev was in custody.
Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. More On The "Public Safety Exemption":
NBC News writes: "The exemption can be invoked when information is needed to protect public safety. In this instance, the government believes it's vital to find out if Tsarnaev planted any other explosives before his capture or whether others might have plotted with him to do so."
Update at 8:20 a.m. ET. Also Hoping To Get Answers From Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Wife:
On Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR's Tom Gjelten said authorities are also hoping that the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev will help answer critical questions.
The day's early headlines:
-- "Dzhokar Tsarnaev ... In Serious Condition" At Heavily Guarded Boston-Area Hospital." (CNN)
-- "Watertown Resident, Who Lifted Boat's Bloody Tarp, Led To Capture." (WBUR)
-- "Photos Force Suspects' Move, Breaking Bombing Case." (Boston Herald)
-- "Boston Bombing Suspects Wanted To Fit In, Friends Say." (Reuters)
-- "Life In America Unraveled For Brothers." (The Wall Street Journal)
Note: As happens when stories such as this are developing, there will likely be reports that turn out to be mistaken. Wednesday, for example, there were reports from CNN, the AP, WBUR and others that authorities either had arrested a suspect or were about to do that. It turned out that no one had been arrested or taken into custody. We will focus on news being reported by NPR, other news outlets with expertise, and statements from authorities who are in a position to know what's going on. And if some of that information turns out to be wrong, we'll update.