Two unnamed US officials have revealed to the Associated Press that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed when police captured him hiding inside David Henneberry’s boat in Watertown.
The report contradicts the Boston police department’s own account of Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s capture on Friday – after commissioner Edward F. Davis described a firefight between him and officers before the terror suspect was captured.
The New York Times also said an M4 rifle had been found on the boat – another claim contradicted by the latest revelations.
Officers had originally said they had exchanged gunfire with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for more than one hour Friday evening before they were able to subdue him.
But on Wednesday, the law enforcement officials told the AP that no gun was found aboard the vessel.
It also contradicts many media accounts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s final moments of freedom.
The New York Times reported that an M-4 carbine rifle – similar to the weapon used by American troops fighting in Afghanistan – was found aboard the boat and that officials had recovered two handguns and a bb gun used by the two brothers.
The throat wound sustained by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also said by numerous law enforcement sources to be self inflicted.
Sources told Newsday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s bullet wound looked to be self-inflicted, due to the location of the wound and the trajectory of the bullet.
Reuters reported that the Boston bomber was shot through the mouth by a round that exited through his neck.
Dozens of bullet holes were seen on the exterior of David Henneberry’s boat in photos taken shortly after the final standoff in the Watertown backyard.
The officials told the AP that say investigators only recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, from the site of a gun battle Thursday night, which injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was believed to have been shot before he escaped.
Meanwhile the suspect told the FBI that they were angry about the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there, officials said.
How much of those conversations will end up in court is unclear.
The FBI normally tells suspects they have the right to remain silent before questioning them so all their statements can be used against them.
Under pressure from Congress, however, the Department of Justice has said investigators may wait until they have gathered intelligence about other threats before reading those rights in terrorism cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concern about that.
Regardless, investigators have found pieces of remote-control equipment among the debris and were analyzing them, officials said.
One official described the detonator as “close-controlled”, meaning it had to be triggered within several blocks of the bombs.