As the Boston Marathon bombing investigation continues, statements from the surviving suspect, his mother, and a noteworthy exchange on Capitol Hill involving the homeland security secretary provide insights on what was behind the attacks last Monday.
The police who tracked down and captured surviving suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev are also speaking about those tense moments, as more information emerges about the manhunt, capture and the shootout and death of Dzokhar’s brother and fellow bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsuranaev.
“They are being killed just because they were Muslim,” said the suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, “Nothing else.” She made the comment from Russia, where she and the men’s father have lived for two years now, having moved back to their native country from Massachusetts, to which they had immigrated in 2002. The bombing suspects’ mother made a variety of comments Tuesday, some of them quite intense, including a cellphone conversation she had with a journalist in Russia about her sons’ status.
“My sons were innocent!” she yelled.
“And I love them, and I want the whole world to hear about it. I love them, and I will love them, and I want to go… I mean I want to join them,” she said. “If they’re going to kill me today, I will be happy. Happy! Okay?” she shouted.
She ended the cellphone interview by saying, “Okay and I will say, ‘Allahu akhbar,'” or ‘God is great.’
Cellphone information related to Friday’s crime scene indicates that the mother was the last person the two bomb suspects spoke with before they got into a shootout that left one of the brothers, Tamerlan, 26, dead. Newly released images from eyewitness Andrew Kitzenberg showed the brothers shooting at cops from behind Tamerlan’s SUV. Another photo Kitzenberg took and posted on getonhand.com shows the brothers in the heat of the shootout with what Kitzenberg claims is a pressure cooker bomb on the street next to them. It was a device police said the pair tried to use on them.
Minutes before the 300-bullet gun battle that left Tamerlan Tsarneav dead, he sobbed to his mother on his cellphone, “They have started shooting at us. They are chasing us.”
“Mama, I love you,” he said, just before it was all over, and he was struck by police gunfire and run over by his brother Dzokhar in the latter’s desperate but unsuccessful attempt to get away in his green Honda sedan.
“I know that my kids have nothing to do with this,” Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the men’s mother, said in another interview on Tuesday. “I know it. I am mother. You know, I know my kids. I know my kids. Really, my kids would never get involved into anything like that.”
Her surviving son says otherwise, along with investigators and a plethora of evidence.
Dzokhar Tsarnaev, 19, can’t speak, due to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the throat just prior to his capture, but Tsarnaev has indicated in writing and through gestures from his hospital bed that his brother thought that the marathon attacks would defend Islam. Dzokhar indicated that he simply went along. He claimed that the pair had no outside influence.
Meanwhile, investigators also interviewed Tamerlan’s wife Tuesday in Rhode Island. She said through her attorneys that she had no idea what her husband and brother-in-law were up to, but that she is grieving.
“To come to terms with the deep sorrow we all feel following the events of last week,” lawyer Amato DeLuca said in a statement. “Meanwhile, she is doing everything she can to assist in the ongoing investigation.” cooperating fully in this investigation.
We also heard from members of the SWAT teams that hunted for Dzokhar Tsarnaev after the shootout, and ultimately found him in a boat in a back yard in Watertown, Mass.
“We got close enough that at the one point where both of his hands were up because of the [boat] rocking back and forth, both of his hands were up we could see that there were no weapons in him, no ignition devices,” said Officer Jeff Campbell of a SWAT team from the MBTA, the local transit authority, which had an officer injured in the brothers’ firefight. “We broke away from the shield protective cover and we just rushed him. We put hands on him, grabbed him and pulled him off the boat.”
Meanwhile, the condition of his brother, Dzokhar, has improved, from critical to serious, allowing him to help further in the investigation into the terrorist act of which he and his brother are accused.