Officials: Boston suspect had no firearm when barrage of bullets hit hiding place
By Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn
Although police feared he was heavily armed, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings had no firearms when he came under a barrage of police gunfire that struck the boat where he was hiding, according to multiple federal law enforcement officials.
Authorities said they were desperate to capture Dzhokhar Tsarnaev so he could be questioned. The FBI, however, declined to discuss what triggered the gunfire.
Other law enforcement officials said the shooting may have been prompted by the chaos of the moment and some action that led the officers present to believe Tsarnaev had fired a weapon or was about to detonate explosives.
These new details emerged as investigators continued their examination of the movements and motives of Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan, in last week’s coordinated bombing, which killed three people and wounded more than 250.
Law enforcement officials said they do not believe the brothers were connected with a terrorist organization, but they cautioned that the inquiry is at an early stage.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a confrontation with police in the early morning hours Friday, four days after the marathon bombings. A transit police officer was seriously wounded in the exchange, in which more than 200 rounds were fired and the suspects lobbed homemade explosives at police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped and was the subject of a massive manhunt. He was cornered hiding in a boat in the driveway of a house in Watertown, Mass., on Friday evening.
Law enforcement officials described the 30 minutes before the arrest of Tsarnaev as chaotic. One characterized it as “the fog of war” and said that in a highly charged atmosphere, one accidental shot could have caused what police call “contagious fire.”
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