Gunfire, Bombs And An Arrest: Boston Police Detail Tsarnaev's Capture For Court
Police officers testifying at the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev described a gunbattle and powerful explosions Monday, recalling the death of Tsarnaev's older brother and the process that ended an intense manhunt for the pair.
Tsarnaev's attorneys have admitted that he was involved in the deadly bombing and the events that followed. But they also insist he was led into the operation by his older brother, and they say he doesn't deserve the death penalty.
The defense team's strategy has often precluded them from quibbling with prosecutors' statements — something that has put the trial on a faster pace than many had expected. Today, jurors viewed the bullet-riddled boat in which Tsarnaev was captured.
From Boston, NPR's Tovia Smith reports for our Newscast unit:
"Police described a hail of gunfire and several explosives thrown at them in a quiet suburb near midnight, while the Tsarnaev brothers were on the run.
"When police were finally able to capture Tamerlan Tsarnaev and were trying to cuff him, they say they saw the defendant speeding at them. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ended up running over his brother and dragging him under the SUV for a bit, before speeding away. As the sergeant put it, 'He was just gone.'
"Defense attorneys have raised just a few questions on cross-examination, trying to cast doubt on whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev actually fired shots — all part of their strategy to cast him as the minor partner in the attack, and his brother as the real mastermind."
Tovia has also been tweeting about the trial, from the federal courthouse. Here's a sampling of the testimony and events she has seen and heard today:
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def attny: flash bangs into boat?pol says yes, meant to disorient. kept going til, after a while, no more reaction coming from #tsarnaev— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
boat gets swarmed by law enforcement &bomb squad. Major was there too. saw suspect in boat. points finger 2 id him in court #Tsarnaev— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
dr who treated offcr nearly killed @ shootout; that offcr in Ct-cracked smile as dr sez he was basically dead &looked like corpse #Tsarnaev— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
neighbor: "abolutely no question" that person who threw the big bomb was the same one driving the mercedes. #Tsarnaev attny has no questions— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
witness: a neighbor of shootout-home w/ wife and 3 wk baby.— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
from window could see guns firing, saw bros light bombs and throw. #Tsarnaev
SGt says bomb blast so strong, "my eyes were shaking viooently in my head. couldnt see straight" had 2reholster gun mid gunfight #tsarnaev— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
watertown sgt: police calls in that suburb more often about things like shoplifting.. & never before had to shoot his gun on duty #Tsarnaev— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
Tamerlan #tsarnaev shooting "non stop". another officer shows up. police fire back. police let one cruiser roll down street empty— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015
def won bid 2show jury bullet ridden boat- not just note-all part of strategy 2cast #tsarnaev as more young, intimidated teen than terrorist— tovia smith (@toviasmithnpr) March 16, 2015