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For two days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the news media was so starved for public developments in the investigation that many outlets took to inventing breaking news. But in the last 12 hours, things have moved so quickly in the hunt for the bombers — complete with a wild night full of shoot-outs, car-jackings, hurled explosives — that it’s hard to keep up. Here’s what’s happened so far:
Late yesterday afternoon, the FBI released pictures of two suspects, later identified as two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Born in Kyrgyzstan, the two were ethnic Chechens, and for part of their lives lived in Dagestan, a republic of Russia in the Caucasus that borders Chechnya. Tamerlan, 26, was an amateur boxer, was profiled in 2010 in a Boston University graduate school magazine, where he was quoted as saying “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.”
Dzhokhar, 19, graduated from Cambridge’s Rindge and Latin school in 2011, where he was a wrestler. He won a $2,500 scholarship from the high school, and was enrolled at UMass Amherst. On a Russian-language social media site, Dzhokhar’s profile listed his priorities as “career and money” and his worldview as “Islam.”
Around 10 p.m., the brothers were caught on surveillance camera robbing a 7-11 in the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge. Half an hour later, an MIT police officer was shot on campus. Rushed to the hospital, he was soon pronounced dead. Not long after the shooting, police received a report that a black Mercedes SUV had been car-jacked nearby in East Cambridge. The carjackers kept the owner in the car for about half an hour as they drove around, eventually letting him out of the car at a gas station on Memorial Drive. Police chased the Mercedes west into Watertown, as the car-jackers reportedly threw explosives out the windows at them.
The chase ended with a shoot-out in Watertown, as the suspects again threw explosives at police and shot up a police SUV that drove towards them, disabling it. In the exchange, a Transit Police officer was shot and critically wounded. The older brother, Tamerlan, was tackled by police and apprehended. Injured, he was taken to the hospital, where he died of gunshot and blast wounds around 1:35 this morning.
Dzhokhar managed to escape, jumping back into the stolen Mercedes and breaking through the line of police, headed west, apparently leaving several more explosive devices at the scene. Authorities now have a roughly 20-block area of Watertown cordoned off, and the entire city of Boston is on lockdown. The transit system and taxis aren’t running, and residents have been instructed to “shelter in place.”
The suspect’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarney, gave an interview from his home in Maryland blaming his nephew’s alleged actions on their “being losers,” and said “Somebody radicalized them, but it wasn’t my brother.” Speaking to the AP from Dagestan, the suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said he thought the two were “set up.”