Crime Files Network

Boston bombing suspect ‘awake,

& answering questions unclear.

boston bombing police car image

As victims of last week’s marathon bombings came to grips with their terrible injuries in Boston hospitals, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev worked out in the gym and went out partying, schoolmates say.

It doesn’t mean he can’t communicate, but right now I think he’s in a condition where we can’t get any information from him at all. 

The 19-year-old university student is reportedly awake and responding sporadically in writing to questions despite serious gunshot wounds to his throat that authorities fear may prevent him from ever being able to explain his suspected role in the bombings and subsequent shoot-out with police.

An aerial infrared image shows the outline of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a boat during the manhunt in Watertown.
An aerial infrared image shows the outline of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in a boat during the manhunt in Watertown. Photo: Reuters

Investigators are asking about other cell members and other unexploded bombs, law enforcement sources told ABC News in the US.

Tsarnaev, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, enjoyed a normal day on campus and appeared ‘‘relaxed’’ at a party he attended with his soccer friends on Wednesday night as investigators scrambled to identify two men suspected of planting the deadly marathon bombs, The Boston Globe reports.

Fellow students expressed disbelief as pictures of Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, 26, were flashed across television screens all over the world.

Culprits: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.
Culprits: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Photo: AP


“We made a joke like — that could be Dzhokhar,” UMass Dartmouth senior Pamela Rolon told the newspaper.

“But then we thought it just couldn’t be him. Dzhokhar? Never.

“He studied. He hung out with me and my friends,” she said. “I’m in shock.”

Dzhokhar is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition, with wounds to the neck and throat area.

Meanwhile, new surveillance video emerged of a young man putting his backpack down at the marathon finish line and waiting for the first explosion.

He waits for the first to detonate and then moves away from the backpack, anticipating the second explosion, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick said.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said detectives found a huge amount of home-made explosives after Friday’s 24-hour manhunt with Tsarnaev and his brother.


Tamerlan was killed during an exchange of gunfire with police. Dzhokhar was shot in the throat, with a wound that appears self-inflicted, and while police and politicians say he can still communicate, they do not believe they can obtain information from him.

Police say in addition to being shot, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was run over by a car being driven by his younger brother, though the precise cause of his death is not yet known.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in a “very serious” condition at a Boston hospital after being captured.

“And we don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question the individual,” he said, without elaborating.

Senator Dan Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told American ABC: “It’s questionable when and whether he’ll be able to talk again. [That] doesn’t mean he can’t communicate, but right now I think he’s in a condition where they can’t get any information from him at all.”


The death penalty does not apply in Massachusetts, but a spokeswoman for Boston’s Attorney-General said Tsarnaev would be tried under federal law – which allows the death penalty for murders committed during acts of terrorism.

Commissioner Davis said that, given the amount of explosives found with the Tsarnaev brothers, more attacks had been planned.

“We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene, the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded, and the firepower that they had, that they were going to attack other individuals,” he told US television network CBS.

Authorities are yet to say whether the brothers had help in carrying out the attacks, but it is believed they were not part of a wider network.


Wide police search

Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured after a manhunt that had much of the Boston area in lockdown. He was found hiding in a boat stored behind a home. He had escaped during the gun battle with police, during which more than 200 rounds of ammunition were fired and the suspects hurled explosive devices at police.

During that confrontation, one police officer was killed and a transit police officer was seriously wounded. In the first showdown with police, Tamerlan Tsarnaev stepped out of their stolen car and was shot, according to one official.

With Tamerlan Tsarnaev wounded and on the ground, Dzhokar Tsarnaev moved to escape. He ran over his brother with the car in the process, the official said.

The bombs used in the explosions at the marathon finish line were made in pressure cookers and packed with nails and ball bearings.

With the younger Tsarnaev unable to speak, the focus is now turning to why the two brothers wanted to carry out such an attack.

The two were Chechen nationals who emigrated to the United States about a decade ago and in 2011, the FBI flagged Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a possible Islamic terrorist.

While Dzhokhar became a naturalised US citizen last year, Tamerlan was still seeking citizenship. Their father, Anzor, said Tamerlan had made a trip last year to renew his Russian passport.


Radicalist Russian links probe

The FBI is investigating suggestions that one of the brothers visited Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the northern Caucasus. But some US politicians are concerned about how the bureau handled a Russian government request to examine the man’s possible links to extremist groups in the region.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months in Dagestan in 2012 and, analysts said, that sojourn may have marked a crucial step in his  path towards the bombings.

Kevin R. Brock, a former senior FBI and counter-terrorism official, said: “It’s a key thread for investigators and the intelligence community to pull on.”

An unnamed senior law enforcement official told the New York Times that the Russian government feared Tamerlan Tsarnaev could be a risk, and “they had something on him and were concerned about him, and him travelling to their region”.


But the FBI never followed up on Tamerlan once he returned, the source acknowledged, adding that its investigation did not turn up anything and it did not have the legal authority to keep tabs on him. Investigators

are now scrambling to review that trip, and learn about any extremists who might have influenced, trained or directed Tamerlan while he was there, the newspaper reported.

A Russian intelligence official told the Interfax news service that Russia had not been able to provide the United States with “operatively significant” information about them “because the Tsarnaev brothers had not been living in Russia”.

But Islamist militants in Russia have denied that they commissioned the attack. The primary rebel coalition has rejected any connection.

On the website Kavkaz Tsentr, the main mouthpiece of radical Muslim coalition Caucasus Emirate, the command of its Dagestan province said the US media should stop repeating Russian propaganda.


“The command of Dagestan sector points out that the Caucasian mujahideen are not fighting against the United States,” it said.

“We are fighting only against Russia, which is responsible not only for the occupation of the Caucasus, but for monstrous crimes against Muslims.

“If the US government is really interested in establishing the true organisers of Boston bombings, and not in complicity with the Russian show, it should focus on the involvement of Russian security services in the events.”

Concerns raised over captured suspect’s rights

The Obama administration’s announcement that it would question the Boston Marathon bombing suspect for a period without first reading him the Miranda warning of his right to remain silent and have a lawyer present has revived a constitutionally charged debate that flared during the Bush administration about the handling of terrorism cases in the criminal justice system.


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