In a scene like something from a Hollywood movie, the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings engaged police in an intense chase through the Boston suburbs — with dozens of shots exchanged and even explosives lobbed at the officers. The chase ended with one of the suspects dead and the other still on the loose.
The chase and firefight occurred after the two suspects had killed a MIT campus police officer, severely wounded a transit officer, and held another man hostage during a carjacking.
The men are suspected of being responsible for setting the bombs at the marathon on Monday that killed three and injured more than 170 people.
“This situation is grave. We are here to protect public safety,” said Col. Tim Alben of the Massachusetts State Police. “We believe these are the same individuals that were responsible for the bombing on Monday at the Boston Marathon. We believe that they’re responsible for the death of an MIT police officer and the shooting of an MBTA officer.”
During the search for the second suspect on Friday morning, police cordoned off a 20-block residential area and urged residents emphatically to stay inside their homes and not to answer their doors.
“We are concerned about securing that area and making sure that this individual is taken into custody,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. “We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people, and we need to get him in custody.”
With gunfire ricocheting around the tranquil neighborhood, residents were later told to go into their basements and stay away from windows.
The chase began after 10 p.m. Thursday, when the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven near Central Square in Cambridge. Security cameras captured images of one of the suspects wearing a gray hoodie.
About a half hour later, police received reports that an MIT campus security officer was shot as he sat in his cruiser. The officer, with multiple gunshot wounds, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Shortly after, the brothers carjacked a Mercedes-Benz SUV. “The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two males and was kept in the car with the suspects for approximately a half-hour,” the police statement said. The carjacking victim was later released, uninjured, at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
Police located the carjacked vehicle and gave chase, winding up tailing the brothers into Watertown. During the chase, “explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects,” the statement said, and the suspects and police exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter and Laurel streets.
He said the two shooters had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”
“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most.” After the bomb exploded, he said, Tamerlan Tsarnaev ran toward the gathered police officers and was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot.
Another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, said the explosions “lit up the whole house. I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”
Kitzenberg said Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev got back into the SUV, turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”