Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Chechen brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon, was wounded but alive following a police gun battle when his younger brother, Dzhokhar, ran him over with a car, possibly causing his death.
Offering the first detailed account of the firefight, Police Chief Edward Deveau, of Watertown, Massachusetts, where the drama had unfolded early Friday morning, has revealed that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev walked towards officers firing a gun before he ran out of ammunition and was tackled to the ground.
“He all of a sudden comes out from under cover and just starts walking down the street, shooting at our police officers, trying to get closer,” Edward Deveau said.
“Now, my closest officer is five to ten feet away, and they’re exchanging gunfire between them. And he runs out of ammunition – the bad guy – and so one of my police officers comes off the side and tackles him in the street.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in the process of being handcuffed by two or three officers when his younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, jumped behind the wheel of a black SUV the two hand allegedly carjacked earlier and barreled toward the group.
Officers who were restraining Tamerlan Tsarnaev got out of the way of the speeding vehicle, which ended up driving over the wounded suspect, the police chief told CNN.
According to Edward Deveau, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dragged his sibling’s body a short distance down the street and drove off. He later ditched the SUV and escaped on foot.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
An alleged autopsy photograph of Tamerlan Tsarnaev that was leaked Friday shows multiple gunshot wounds and a massive open gash that spans from the center of his chest to his back.
Another smaller gash is located right below the larger wound. His right shoulder and his face show signs of hemorrhaging.
Some of the injuries could have been sustained during doctors’ attempts to revive him.
The results of the autopsy have not been released yet, but the preliminary description of the injuries suggests that some of the wounds may have been caused by the vehicle operated by the suspect’s brother.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured Friday evening following a tense standoff after he was spotted hiding in a boat parked in a backyard, bleeding profusely.
Violence erupted in the early morning hours Friday when police received reports of a robbery of a 7Eleven store in Kendall Square near MIT and a police officer was shot and ended up with a gun fight in a small suburban street as residents slept.
Sean Collier, 26, an MIT police officer, was shot multiple times while in his cruiser at Main and Vassar streets, near the Stata Center on the MIT campus.
The officer was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A short time later, the Tsarnaev brothers carjacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint.
The hostage was then driven around for half an hour as the pair decided what their next move would be.
As police moved in on the vehicle following reports of a carjacking, the pair decided to dump the driver at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police.
Richard H. Donahue, 33, a transit police officer was seriously injured during the chase.
In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday.
Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.
Speaking to CNN following Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture, Edward Deveau said that a single officer was the first to encounter the two cars that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were driving, just before 1 a.m. Friday.
One of the vehicles was a Mercedes SUV the brothers had carjacked earlier that night.
Before the officer could call for backup, the two cars came to a stop and the brothers got out.
“They jump out of the car and unload on our police officer,” Edward Deveau said.
“They both came out shooting – shooting guns, handguns. He’s under direct fire, very close by. He has to jam it in reverse and try to get himself a little distance.”
Five others officers arrived on the scene in the middle of an intense shootout during which Edaward Deveau says over 200 rounds were fired in 5-10 minutes.
The chief said that one of the suspected bombers lobbed an explosive at the officers, which later turned out to be a pressure cooker bomb like the ones used in the marathon attack Monday.
The brothers also allegedly threw other explosives at police, which Edward Deveau described as “very rough devices”. Two of the bombs detonated and two did not. A sixth explosives was later discovered in one of the vehicles.
At one point, Tamerlan Tsarnaev came directly toward police, firing a gun at officers as he inched closer toward him. But his luck ran out along with his ammunition, allowing one of the officers to tackle him.
Moments later, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran his brother over while fleeing the scene in a green Honda Accord.