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After Bombing Suspect Captured, Next Steps Begin


This is weekend edition from NPR NEWS, I'm Scott Simon. The intense manhunt of the brothers suspected of carrying out Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon ended with the arrest last night of a 19-year-old college student, the only surviving suspect. And as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been taken into custody and resident in the suburban neighborhood where he was found erupted in cheers of joy and relief.


SIMON: The arrest brought to an end a wild 24-hour period that included high-speed chases, gunfights and explosions of improvised bombs. Two Boston area police officers were shot, one of them fatally. And police shot and killed 26-year old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother of the two suspects in an exchange of gunfire. NPR's David Schaper is in Boston. He covered the events on Friday as they unfolded, and joins us. David, thanks for being with us.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Thank you, Scott.

SIMON: How did they finally locate him?

SCHAPER: Well, you know, in that gun battle with police in which the older brother was killed, Dzhokhar somehow managed to escape amid all the chaos. Remember, there was also another police officer wounded in that gun battle. Police believe he may have been wounded, but they lost sight of him, and then they established this 20-block area for a perimeter and searched, going door-to-door. They had a ton of leads but they failed to apprehend the suspect. So, Governor Deval Patrick, at about 6 o'clock last night lifted that day-long order for residents to stay inside. And Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says that's when they got the big break in the case.

ED DAVID: A man had gone out of his house after being inside the house all day abiding by our request to stay inside. He walked outside and he saw blood on a boat in the backyard. He then opened the tarp on the top of the boat and he looked in and saw a man covered with blood. He retreated and called us.

SCHAPER: That's when authorities responded. There was another exchange of gunfire with the suspect. Ultimately, a hostage rescue came in, and they were able to get the suspect off the boat and get him to the hospital, where he remains in serious condition today.

SIMON: Do the police have any thinking, David, on how a 19-year-old, who to our knowledge, has no military training, and may have been wounded, was able to allude that intense search for so?

SCHAPER: Well, the spot that he was found was just outside of that perimeter area. Police had clues that he was still in the Watertown area and within that perimeter. What I find interesting is that authorities kind of lifted that stay indoors order right before he was found, basically because they thought he had somehow manage to get out of the area. But it seems he was able to sneak just outside of the perimeter and into that boat where he was found. And here's Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau talking about the clues that they had up until that point.

ED DEVEAU: We know he didn't go straight to the boat. We set up the perimeter with the best intentions, with a lot of information. We found blood in the car that he abandoned. We found blood behind the house inside the perimeter. So, we had no information that he had gotten outside the perimeter.

SIMON: David, how do we understand now that authorities began to zero in on these two brothers as suspects?

SCHAPER: Well, after the FBI released those photographs on Thursday of those guys carrying backpacks with their caps on on Monday, at the marathon, you know, they started getting tips in this - something happened Thursday night at the MIT campus. We still haven't been told exactly what led to this shooting of the university police officer. But right after that - that was followed by a carjacking at a nearby convenience store and gas station, where the suspects were again captured on surveillance video cameras. Those pictures appear to match those from the marathon and the two men in the baseball caps with the backpacks who are setting those pressure cooker bombs.

SIMON: NPR's David Schaper in Boston. Thanks so much.

SCHAPER: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.