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Boston Manhunt Ends With Suspect In Custody


This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Boston can finally take a breath this morning. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old who eluded authorities Thursday night during an unprecedented manhunt that shut down an entire great metropolitan area for a day, is captured. He is alive but wounded. It's something of a satisfying ending after a turbulent and trying week.

NPR's Dan Bobkoff joins us now from downtown Boston, to try and recap events. Dan, thanks for being with us.

DAN BOBKOFF, BYLINE: Good morning.

SIMON: And so much has happened this week, and then we learned something that actually didn't happen, and it's back and forth. Crystallize things for us, as they happened yesterday.

BOBKOFF: Yes. Well, if you remember, yesterday was a day of lockdown here - really, across the entire region. There was no transportation. Businesses and schools were closed. Everyone in Boston and the surrounding suburbs was told to stay inside and lock the doors. And then around 6 p.m., authorities held a news conference and lifted that shelter-in-place advisory.

So Bostonians were starting to venture out of their homes. And this is actually what leads to the dramatic end to the whole saga because one Watertown man is leaving his home, and he notices that there's some blood on the boat parked in his driveway. So he calls authorities, and that's when they find the suspect holed up in the boat.

So not long after that call, Watertown became ground zero of a very intense situation. And, you know, it was kind of like a slow-motion action movie. The whole thing unfolded on live TV - the racing police cars, the bomb squad arriving, the negotiator on the scene. This could have ended any number of ways. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Suspect No. 2, just before 9 p.m. captured, without further violence.

So this is the ending, I think, many in Boston and around the country so desperately wanted.

SIMON: And where is the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, today?

BOBKOFF: He is in a Boston-area hospital, where he is currently listed in serious condition. And obviously, having him alive was the ideal outcome because it should give us a lot more information about the motivations behind these attacks.

SIMON: Dan, you've been in Boston during an extraordinary week, when the public mood ranged from anger and hurt and sadness and grief to, as we glimpsed it, unity and pride. What do you see on the streets there?

BOBKOFF: Well, I think we have to start in Watertown last night because that was the community that was so on edge. And you had the media there camping out, watching all this live. So it was perhaps to be expected that when we got this ending, it turned into a real celebration there. This is the sound of Watertown shortly after the news broke.


BOBKOFF: And Sgt. David Presley(ph), who was one of the officers involved in the capture, he emerged smiling and sweaty, and he was still wearing his SWAT gear, and he had this to say.

DAVID PRESLEY: I feel good. A long wait, but it was a good wait.

BOBKOFF: And around this time, I headed down to Copley Square, the scene of the bombings. And there's a makeshift memorial at the barrier on Boylston Street. It's still a crime scene, so you can't get all the way through. And there was a small crowd gathering there, right after the news broke, and they were absolutely silent. It was almost like a moment of silence that just sprung up, and everyone there was just consoling each other. And then, after the president spoke, it was like a full-on party broke out on Boston Common.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting and clapping) Boston strong. Boston strong. Boston strong...

BOBKOFF: This is a college town, after all, and many of these revelers are college students who just flooded into the Common en masse - some carrying flags; there was a lot of singing. I think it's fitting last night that some of the streets in this area were blocked off because of all the revelers. So this time, we could say it was for a good reason.

SIMON: NPR's Dan Bobkoff, speaking with us from the Hub, as they call Boston. Thanks so much.

BOBKOFF: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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