Stricken Boston bomb suspect under guard, awaits charges

BOSTON Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:46pm EDT

1 of 10. Two-year-old Wesley Brillant of Natick, Massachusetts kneels in front of a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings near the scene of the blasts on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, April 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg

Related Topics

BOSTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors prepared criminal charges on Sunday against the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings who was seriously wounded, unable to speak, and under heavy guard at a city hospital two days after his dramatic capture.

Investigators could not interview Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as they searched for clues to what may have driven him and his brother, ethnic Chechens who came to the United States 10 years ago, to plant the bombs, and whether anyone else was involved.

Receiving particular scrutiny was a six-month trip the brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, took to Russia in January 2012, and whether he was influenced by Chechen separatists or the Islamist struggle against the West.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a Thursday night shootout with police that left behind some 250 spent shells on the streets of Watertown, the Boston suburb where police finally cornered the younger Tsarnaev after a massive manhunt that shut down greater Boston on Friday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was found that night, covered in blood and hiding on a boat in a Watertown back yard.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the federal prosecutor for the Boston area, was preparing criminal charges, according to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. It was not clear when charges would be filed. Prosecutors did not plan any news conference or announcements on Sunday.

The suspect was watched by armed guards in the intensive care unit of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where his brother was pronounced dead early on Friday.

"He is not in a condition to be interrogated at this point in time," Davis said in an afternoon news conference.

Davis said earlier police discovered at least four unexploded devices including one similar to the two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails and ball bearing used in the twin blasts Monday that killed three people and wounded more than 170 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

"I personally believe they were (planning other attacks)," he told CBS television's "Face the Nation."

The men's parents, who moved back to southern Russia, have said their sons were framed.

Tsarnaev was shot in the throat, U.S. Senator Dan Coats, a member of the Intelligence Committee, told ABC. A source close to the investigation told Reuters he had tongue damage.

"We don't know if we'll ever be able to question the individual," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday, also on ABC's "This Week" program.

Runners in the London Marathon held 30 seconds of silence before starting their race on Sunday, while people from the greater Boston area that had been on virtual lockdown all day Friday remembered the victims in church services.

"We must be people of reconciliation and not revenge," Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O'Malley told a packed Cathedral of the Holy Cross. "The crimes of the two young men must not be justification for violence against Muslims."

In the neighboring city of Cambridge, police stationed themselves across from a home where various members of the Tsarnaev family had lived, advising gawkers and bystanders to move on.

Patricia McMillan, who lives two doors down, said she last saw Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the neighborhood the Wednesday before the bombing, noting he had shaved off his beard and that he was smoking.


Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Moscow in January 2012 and spent six months in the region, a law enforcement source said.

That trip, combined with Russian interest in Tamerlan communicated to U.S. authorities and an FBI interview of him in 2011, have raised questions whether danger signals were missed.

It was unclear if he could have had contact with militant Islamist groups in southern Russia's restive Caucasus region.

A group leading an Islamist insurgency against Russia said on Sunday it was not at war with the United States, distancing itself from the Boston bombings.

"We are fighting with Russia, which is responsible not only for the occupation of the Caucasus but for monstrous crimes against Muslims," said a statement from Caucasus Emirate militants operating in Dagestan.

The insurgency is rooted in two separatist wars that Russian troops waged against Chechen separatists following the fall of the Soviet Union.

The family emigrated to the United States about a decade ago. The brothers spent their early years in a small community of Chechens in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim nation of 5.5 million. They moved in 2001 to Dagestan, a southern Russian province where their parents now live.

Neighbors said they noticed nothing unusual about Tsarnaev, who this summer helped his father renovate his first floor apartment in Makhachkala, a bustling city in Dagestan.

"They say he was a fanatic. I didn't see that," said Madina Abdulayeva, 45, who runs the small grocery shop across the pot-holed street where he used to come to chat. "We're all Muslim here. We're all part of Islam. We all pray.

(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Vicki Allen and Doina Chiacu)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (71)
WhyMeLord wrote:
If we ever come to know exactly what their motive was, what will we do with that information? Currently, there is this mind-set that knowing why someone did something will somehow enable us to prevent the same thing from happening again sometime in the future. L.O.L. Well, even if Big Brother stumbles across why these malcontents decided to take their anger out on an innocent crowd, they won’t be able to use it to roundup possible suspects because it would be “profilling”. It seems that our personal freedom sometimes comes at a very high price indeed.

Apr 20, 2013 10:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BiteRight wrote:
A man could shoot dead his boss for laying him off, hurt his girlfriend for deserting him. But these boys are not least provoked to do something like this. You just can’t understand thinkings of newest generation other than their showing sheer hatred toward humanity.

Real terrorists would carry out such acts away from home city or state or country, but these brothers acted in where they lived and studied without fear of being recognized by neighbor or schoolmate.

Real terrorists would well formulate a suicidal plot or escape plan after attack but these brothers seemed not. They confined their exit to Boston and suburbs holding on belief anywhere in U.S. other than Boston belonged to Russia.

Immigrants would highly value and love their new life, but they not. If they believed Putin had stood in their way toward independence, they should have committed this crime in Russis not U.S. which harbored them as refugees and granted them citizenship.

I don’t believe a 19-year old young guy could be able to make bombs, time the blast, skilfully hurling at police task force and trading gunfire without training in somewhere by someone else targeting at Americans. It’s a very absurd case that Obama couldn’t understand either. Does Islamic extremist indoctrination could brainwash our young people like that, and everything can happen all of a sudden ?

Apr 20, 2013 11:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BrokenToaster wrote:
Too many people snapping or becoming radical. Example: Most shootings happened at schools by people whom witnesses always claimed were quiet,friendly,and some obliviously with mental problems.Were the shooters picked on/abused and for the ones who returned to schools many years later, were they abused there? (If they have mental problems then they would not be able to think rationally and still remember that school badly) As for these radicals, they always seem to think that “their way” is under some sort of (religious or cultural attack). Kind of like gangs claiming neighborhoods so that their way and associates are dominate in that neighborhood (Thereby creating a “zone” of their interests). When gangs feel that their “zone” is changing or under attack….well they act.
This in no way any excuses ANYONE from their ACTIONS. If the individual’s action (no matter what the reason) results in people being harmed, then it is in the interest/safety of the public that the authorities act. I keep questioning as to why these attacks are becoming more frequent. (Not every country has the issue this bad)

Knowing the actual problem (whatever it really is) is important if the trend continues.

However, I must agree with you that our personal freedom has a very high price. However we must not abandon the freedom,but instead make the abusers pay their cost of that high price. (Just no more crazy wars)

Apr 20, 2013 11:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.