The other suspect in the bombings, Tsarnaev’s 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, was killed early Friday morning after a shootout with police in another section of Watertown.
Also Friday, a report from Russian television cited the men’s mother as saying her older son had previously been interviewed by the FBI because of his interest in radical Islamic teachings. The FBI confirmed that agents in Boston had interviewed the elder Tsarnaev in 2011, on behalf of an unspecified foreign government that suspected he had ties to a terrorist organization. But the FBI found nothing warranting further investigation.
The standoff with the younger Tsarnaev began just minutes after a press conference in which authorities had conceded that a daylong search for Tsarnaev had come up empty. They had said they did not know where the fugitive was, but would still lift a “shelter in place” order anyway.
“You can get back out, as long as you are vigilant,” said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D).
As night fell again here, the Tsarnaevs had become a new lesson in the awful magnifying power of terrorism. Two unremarkable brothers, armed with low-tech bombs and no apparent escape plan, had allegedly killed four people, injured more than 170, and then held one of America’s great cities in terror for a full day. And counting.
While law enforcement officers continued to look for Tsarnaev, investigators in Washington and elsewhere began seeking to understand what had turned them to violence.
The Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechen heritage. Both were born in the Caucusus region, a cauldron fought over by Chechen separatists, Russian security forces, Islamic extremists and organized crime. They had emigrated legally, and lived for years in the Boston area, where their father, Anzor, was an auto mechanic.
In the past, both men had embraced American passions, according to friends and neighbors. Tamerlan, 26, was an accomplished boxer, with a wife and child. Dzhokhar was a wrestler at Cambridge’s public high school, who went on to attend the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
On Thursday evening, authorities released photos of two men spotted carrying backpacks near the Marathon’s finish line. These were apparently the Tsarnaevs, though authorities did not say that at the time--and, perhaps, did not know it at all.
Their targets, it turned out, had not fled the city or the country. A few hours later, they began a violent spree just across the Charles River in Cambridge.