WATERTOWN — Steve Hinojosa, 29, was sleeping at home on Dexter Street here early Friday morning when a bang woke him up.
“I kind of thought it was thunder,” he said. But after the second bang and a rapid chattering of gunfire, he knew it wasn’t the weather.
“I saw the smoke, and police cars were flying up the street,” said April Montcrieff, 29, who lives with Hinojosa.
They flipped on the TV and realized what was going on outside their door. They also realized they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Police, federal agents and National Guard troops flooded their east Watertown neighborhood, the epicenter of Friday’s massive manhunt, after a deadly and violent chase from Cambridge to Dexter Street left an MIT campus policeman dead, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing dead, an MBTA policeman seriously wounded and much of the metro area in virtual lockdown as police searched for the second suspect.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot by police in that confrontation, in which more than 200 rounds of ammunition were fired and explosives were lobbed at police. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, also may have been wounded, but drove the Mercedes they had carjacked in Cambridge over his brother during his escape before fleeing on foot, police said.
Hinojosa and Montcrieff didn’t sleep that night and kept the TV on, hoping to hear word that police apprehended the surviving suspect. But night turned to day, and the search intensified in their neighborhood.
The FBI and SWAT first visited at about 10:30 a.m. They knocked on the door, but when Hinojosa and Montcrieff answered, they were greeted by five rifle barrels.
“They were very friendly, but seeing the guns pointed at you is very nerve wracking,” Montcrieff said. Agents searched their home and yard, even bringing in a dog, and then left, on to the next house.