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Boston bombing suspect taken alive after lengthy manhunt. NBC's Jay Gray reports.
Police captured the lone surviving Boston Marathon bombings suspect Friday night to cheers from a Massachusetts town on edge, capping a grueling week in greater Boston and a 24-hour manhunt that had all but shut down the city.
A wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody in a Watertown, Mass., backyard after police surrounded the trailered boat where he was hiding. He had apparently holed up after a wild shootout with police the night before in which his brother and fellow bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, had died.
"CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody," Boston police tweeted.
"The people of the greater Boston area are going to be able to sleep tonight," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said at a Friday night press conference after Tsarnaev's capture. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said formal charges would be filed in the coming days.
But even as the manhunt ended, the agony of a city riven by Monday's blasts — and Thursday's fatal shooting of a young MIT police officer — still hadn't, as President Barack Obama noted in remarks late Friday night.
"There are still unanswered questions," Obama said. "Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive help? The families of those killed deserve answers. The wounded deserve answers."
Tsarnaev's capture came after a resident had gone outside to smoke and noticed that a tarp over the boat in the backyard was flapping, a relative told NBC News. He peered into the boat and saw a person curled up and bloody clothes, and then he ran inside to call police, the relative said.
Thermal imaging from police helicopters confirmed there was a person alive in the boat, officials said. After the discovery, bursts of gunfire could be heard in Watertown, as well as blasts from the police's flash-bang grenades. A police negotiator had also been brought to the scene.
Just blocks away the night before, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother and fellow bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been suspected of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer in Cambridge before leading police on a car chase and engaging in a massive shootout with them in Watertown. That shootout left Tamerlan dead, while Dzhokhar had escaped on foot.
A few hours before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was caught, officials had lifted a lockdown and reopened mass transit, amid the ongoing all-day manhunt. Police had spent Friday scouring a ghost town of the city of Boston and its suburbs, uncovering seven more bombs and the grisly remnants of the overnight shootout.
"We do not have an apprehension of our suspect this afternoon, but we will have one," said Col. Timothy Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, at a press conference earlier on Friday evening.
"Remember, there is still a very, very dangerous individual at large, but we feel confident ... that we can return to living our lives," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had said at that press conference.
Massachusetts state police had been going door-to-door Friday in Watertown after the two suspected terrorist brothers hurled explosives at police in the earlier firefight. Police officials told NBC News about 200 rounds were exchanged.
Among the evidence being recovered in Watertown were pipe bombs and another pressure cooker.
As evening set in Friday, even as police combed Watertown, authorities announced that they were lifting their orders that many residents of Boston and surrounding towns stay indoors. Boston's mass transit resumed operation immediately, after being shut down all day Friday.
Authorities in Boston thought earlier Friday they were looking for a third person, but police then narrowed their search to just the younger man.
Authorities suspect that the Cambridge resident of Chechen origin and his brother were behind Monday's twin explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 176.
With the elder suspected bomber dead and the younger brother still at large, the Boston Red Sox said on its Twitter page that Friday night's game was postponed to support the efforts of law enforcement officers. A Bruins hockey game and Big Apple Circus performance were also postponed with nearly 1 million people affected by the Boston area lockdown.
As the manhunt dragged on, a portrait began to emerge of the Tsarnaev brothers, who relatives and authorities said immigrated to the U.S. with their ethnic Chechen family a decade ago.
The Kyrgyzstan-born suspect on the run, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11, 2012, according to documents obtained by NBC News. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth said he was registered as a student there.
The dead brother, Tamerlan, was born in Russia and became a legal U.S. permanent resident in 2007, authorities told NBC News. He had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school said.
Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim part of Russia that declared independence in 1991, after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Chechnya fought a war with Russia for much of the 1990s, and Chechens have been involved in terrorist attacks in Russia in the years since.
"Turn yourself in," Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told reporters outside his home in Montgomery Village, Md. in an emotional impromptu news conference. "We’re ashamed. They’re children of my brother, who had little influence on them," he said, calling the pair "losers."
"He put a shame on our surname's family," Tsarni said. "He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity."
The stunning developments came after the FBI released surveillance photos and videos of the bombing suspects Thursday.
That night, the Tsarnaev brothers fatally shot MIT officer Sean Collier, 26, in his car at 10:20 p.m., law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The brothers then carjacked a Mercedes SUV, holding the driver captive as they tried to get money from three ATMs before letting him go a half-hour later at a Cambridge gas station, sources told NBC News.
The pair then took off in a car toward neighboring Watertown while throwing explosive devices out the window during a police chase.
“They were also utilizing bombs, which sounded and looked like grenades, while engaging in the gunfight,” Watertown witness Andrew Kitzenberg told NBC News in an interview. “They also had what looked like a pressure-cooker bomb.
“I saw them light this bomb. They threw it towards the officers,” he added. “There was smoke that covered our entire street.”
Kitzenberg said the firefight ended when Tamerlan Tsarnaev ran toward officers and fell to the ground. The suspect was run over and had an improvised explosive device strapped to his chest, NBC News reported.
A Boston transit police officer was also shot and wounded in the overnight violence, authorities said. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said the officer, 33-year-old Richard Donohue, was severely injured and undergoing surgery.
Travel records obtained by NBC 4 New York show Tamerlan Tsarnaev flew into and out of John F. Kennedy Airport last year on Jan. 12 for Sheremetyevo, Russia. He stayed overseas and returned to JFK on July 17. The documents also show Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born on July 22, 1993. They show he flew to the U.S. on April 12, 2002 with his family, which applied for asylum.
The U.S. Army said after a records check that neither had served in the active duty Army, guard or reserves.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's father told The Associated Press from Russia that his son was a medical student and "true angel."
But Boston Police Commissioner Ed David said: "We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxer who once won the New England Golden Gloves championship a few years ago, a former coach, John Curran, told NBC News.
Curran described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a gifted athlete who often performed complicated gymnastic moves — tumbles, handstands — in the gym. He spoke three languages and played the piano.
"He was a very respectful young man," Curran said. "That's what is so mind blowing about this whole situation
Curran said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sometimes accompanied his older brother to the boxing gym, but did not fight. He seemed introverted, especially in comparison to his older brother's outgoing nature.
"He was like a puppy dog following his older brother," Curran said.