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April 20, 2013

'Thank God we got him'

After a 20-hour manhunt that shut down Boston, bombing suspect caught

BOSTON — Lifting days of anxiety for a city on edge, police captured the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, found bloodied in a backyard boat last night following a wild car chase and gun battle that left his older brother dead and Boston and its suburbs sealed in an extraordinary dragnet.

The capture of 19-year-old terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at 8:45 p.m. ended a furious 24-hour drama that transfixed the nation and paralyzed the Boston area. A state-issued “shelter in place” alert kept almost 1 million residents of Boston and its suburbs locked inside their homes as hundreds of armed members of law enforcement canvassed and recanvassed neighborhoods. Officers from all over New England, including dozens from the Merrimack Valley, sped to the city to help.

The city’s mass transit system stood still. Universities shut down. Major events like the Red Sox and Boston Bruins games and the Big Apple Circus performance were called off for the night.

And when it seemed like the trail was cold and people were told they could go outside, a Watertown resident walked out into his backyard about 7 p.m. and saw blood on the side of his boat. He lifted the cover and found a blood-covered man inside, according to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. The resident called 911 and a state police helicopter armed with a thermal imaging camera confirmed someone was inside.

SWAT teams, cruisers, and armored vehicles raced to the scene as Blackhawk helicopters flew overhead. There was gunfire, flash-bang grenades, and a short time later, a thunderous eruption of applause from law enforcement as 19-year-old terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken from the boat and loaded into an ambulance injured, but still alive.

Boston Mayor Menino confirmed the manhunt was over with a simple tweet: “We got him.” Boston Police followed with their own: “The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

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