Watertown Police Describe Their 12-Minute Shoot-Out With The Boston Bombing Suspects

The eight cops who brought Tamerlan Tsarnaev down give an exclusive interview to the New York Post.

The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie File / AP

Tamerlan Tsarnaev in February 2010.

It was 12:41 a.m. on April 19, and the Boston bombing suspects had just shot and killed an MIT police officer named Sean Collier. They were heading out of town when they were spotted by the Watertown, Mass., police, who shared the following story with the New York Post on Monday, nearly three months after the Boston Marathon explosions.

One of the suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was driving a Honda Civic, with his older brother other trailing behind in a stolen Mercedes.

[Officer Joseph Reynolds:] “As I drove by, I made eye contact with Tamerlan … We both kind of looked at each other. I radioed dispatch that I had the vehicle …

Tamerlan got out and started walking toward me. He lifted up his arms and started firing at me.”

[Sgt. John MacLellan:] “I saw that [Tamerlan] went from Reynolds’ car to my car and shot, boom, right through the windshield. I got sprayed with glass as I was putting it in park. I said, ‘Holy s—t, they’re shooting at us!’

The brothers threw a pipe bomb, and Reynolds and MacLellan ran for cover. Two more bombs were thrown, but didn’t go off. The officers began firing at the suspects, joined by three more officers, including Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese. The brothers threw a fourth pipe bomb, which detonated.

Pugliese began shooting at the brothers’ ankles. There was another explosion.

[Pugliese:] “We were exchanging gunfire… [Tamerlan] then had a problem with his firearm — I don’t know if it jammed or ran out of ammunition. He looked down at his pistol in frustration, then he looked back at me. Our eyes met for a moment.”

Tamerlan threw his gun at Pugliese, then began to run away; Pugliese caught up with him.

[Pugliese:] “I had my prisoner; I didn’t want anything to happen to him at this point. The next thing I knew, the headlights were right here in my face, and I had to let go of Tamerlan.”

Dzhokhar drove off in the Mercedes, running over his brother’s body.

It was 12:52 a.m. The 26-year-old Tamerlan had been shot nine times; he wouldn’t survive the night. Dzhokhar got away, but police would arrest him the next night after a standoff in a Watertown neighborhood, where the 19-year-old hid in a boat named the Slipaway II.

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