A Personal Account Of The Manhunt For Dzhokhar Tsarnaev In Watertown

A documentation of the manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by someone who lives three blocks from where he was found.

1. Moments after police shootout in Watertown I picked up my camera.

I heard an explosion around 12:40AM, and picked up my camera. There was a second explosion at 12:50AM. These explosions were either hand grenades or the pressure cooker bomb that was reported to have been thrown at police during the shootout. At this time the neighborhood was very quiet. I could only hear a policeman’s walkie talkie on Spruce Street behind my house. Then more, and more, and more, and more police started to show up. A helicopter flew overhead.

2. A manhunt in my back yard for marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

In the morning SWAT teams did a sweep behind my house, looking in trashcans and trees. Then plain clothes men showed up and aimed guns at the back of my house and possibly me.

3. A SWAT team is at my front door.

At no point did anyone search the inside of my home. They did search my open garage and check the area surrounding my home. Considering a person—who they believed to have assisted in the killing of several people, and injured over 200, and was at the time thought to have an explosive on him—was found 3 blocks from my home, I’m very thankful that THEY searched my garage and my yard, and I wasn’t the one doing the searching. I am not trained for such events, I am busy living a normal life which 99% of the time, consists of not worrying about fugitives in my yard.

The man from the SWAT team at my door was very friendly, and from his body language and tone, I felt that he had our safety as his number one priority. If I lived in another country in which the government has a much worse track record of keeping its civilians safe, and in which there is widespread corruption, I would have felt less safe. If the manhunt had taken two or three days, or if the suspect was found nowhere near my neighborhood, I would now feel a bit differently about their “lockdown.” Considering the way things turned out, I did not feel like a prisoner in my home because of the SWAT teams, I felt like a prisoner because of the actions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

4. In the afternoon it grew quiet. Very quiet.

By afternoon an eerie calm had set in. The atmospheric pressure lowered, and it began to drizzle. The SWAT teams and police were very quiet. The activity across the street made us believe that suspect 2 was possibly very nearby.

5. Capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The lockdown in Watertown had just been lifted. My roommate and his girlfriend went out for a walk (?!). I was about to go out to my car to get the hell out of Watertown, when my roommate called saying “stay inside, we just heard gunshots.” The police had finally found Suspect Number 2. I went out to the porch and videotaped the sounds of what I believe to be a stun gun fired at the suspect. I then went out to Mt Auburn street to film the media, and I met up with my roommate. We then walked down Spruce Street to see if we could get any closer to Franklin Street—where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was reported to be hiding in a boat. Again, it was very quiet in the neighborhood.

We heard on the news that he had been taken into custody and I rushed back to Mt Auburn street to videotape the ambulance he was being carried in.

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