(The Verge) –One of the most memorable news stories of the past decade is inching closer towards being an appalling memory. The first terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the Boston Marathon Bombings and ensuing events had viewers glued to the television, Boston (and suburban area) residents holed up in their homes and law enforcement officials on an all-out manhunt. Luckily, thanks to a definitive tip, infrared imaging and FBI strategy, the two suspects were captured (one meeting a brutal death).
It all started Monday, April 15th on Boylston Street in Boston. The marathon was nearing a close and all of the back-of-the-pack racers were beginning to cross the finish line. At about 2:50 p.m., a grey plume of smoke is seen jetting out towards the street, in it is a fiery orange explosion and barricades go tumbling while a runner even falls to the ground from the impact. Less than ten seconds later, another similar explosion is felt just a block away. The terrorist attack had begun.
With news sources scrambling to get coverage of the events, obscure details began rolling into the newsrooms. First they maintained that a person of interest was in custody, then it was believed that another explosion at the John F. Kennedy Library was correlating to the previous events. Meanwhile, limbless victims are escorted to the hospital and the city slumps into a cluttered frenzy.
As final tallies came in, three people were outright killed, including an 8-year old boy, and about 170 were injured. The bombs had shot BB’s and nails into the legs and extremities of the victims, and a pressure cooker concoction seemed to be the culprit.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama calls the events “an act of terror” and the FBI begins sifting through nearly 2,000 leads. Forensic investigators find pieces of nylon, black powder, a circuit board and batteries; a indicative clue at the bombs being weapons of terror.
On Wednesday, uplifting news enmeshed viewers in the afternoon that an arrest had been made, but this was later retracted. But, a possible breakthrough had emerged: law enforcement officials held in their possession, a surveillance video tape from a department store showing two suspicious individuals carrying backpacks near the scene of the crimes.
Meanwhile, back at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a sophomore carries on life as usual. He’s seen at a party, going to the gym, and crashing in his dorm room facilities.
On Thursday, tensions started to boil as no arrests had been made, but the FBI seemed to have been waiting for the correct time to display their images of the suspects. This ploy, in fact, worked. At dinner time, the FBI releases two captured images of the suspects. One is Dzhokhar, sporting a white backwards hat and a backpack, and the other is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, sporting a dark hat and sunglasses.
In a strategy that hoped to flush out the suspects, the FBI and President Obama remained confident that the culprits would be brought to justice. “The nation is counting on those with information to come forward,” said an FBI official.
In a eminent play of events, the suspects knew that had to strategically move in correspondence to the recently-released photos of their profiles. So, they take to the streets…
At 10:20 p.m., shots are fired on the campus of MIT. Minutes later, Sean Collier, 26, an MIT campus officer, is shot and killed while responding to a call in his squad car. After an undisclosed time, the two men hijack a Mercedes SUV and flee from the area. Other reports have indicated that Dzhokhar was even driving a Honda CRV at one point, but the two later met up and progressed in the Mercedes.
The owner of the Mercedes was held hostage for close to an hour, but the men spared his life, possibly because he was not American, as FOX News speculations have hinted. He was released at a gas station and the two use his debit card to withdraw at least $800 in cash. A photo was snagged of the suspects as they left a convenience store, and within no time, it was thrust on the screen of every major news outlet.
But then, mayhem ensues. The Mercedes is spotted, police pursue, and the suspects throw explosive devices from the vehicle as police return fire. In the midst, Transit Officer Rich Donohue, is seriously injured.
At 2:00 a.m., police get within feet of the fleeting suspects, and in Hollywood-reminiscent probability, Suspect #1 (Tamerlan) runs out of ammo and makes himself exposed to police, who strike the 26 year-old with bullet wounds. Then, as officials reported last night on FOX News’ “The Factor,” police tackled Tamerlan, taking him to the ground and handcuffing him.
Seeing the bottom nearly fall out beneath him, Dzhokhar hopped in the SUV and sped up towards the site of his brother’s capture. With no intention of slowing down, officers leap out of the way to avoid eminent death, but Tamerlan is not so lucky. Dzhokhar strikes his brother with the vehicle, dragging him (as some reports claim) as far as forty feet before the corpse was detached from the bottom of the vehicle’s frame. A sure sign of brotherly love…
But like the two suspects managed to vanish after the bombings, so to was Dzhokhar after the bullet exchange. So, into the night, he fled on foot.
Boston and the surrounding areas were put on lockdown. City transit was halted and the FBI warned people to stand-tough in their homes. A door-to-door manhunt enveloped the entire Watertown, Mass. area and hours went by without a hunch.
A little after 6:30 p.m., gunfire cracks out in a Watertown neighborhood. Then, police receive a definitive tip that blood was seen in the backyard and on the boat at a nearby home. Police pursue, using infrared heat imaging and spot the wounded, but alive Dzhokhar hiding beneath the tarp on the boat. After an apparent (self-inflicted) gunshot wound to the throat, police pounce and take the 19-year old into custody, bleeding and battled, but still alive. Reporters plunge towards the police vehicles as they escort Dzhokhar and an AP reporter snaps a picture of the suspected terrorist with a blood-riddled face receiving medical treatment in an ambulance.
Now it seemed, the bloodbath was over. Dzhokhar remained in serious condition at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and on Saturday, began to attempt communication with the embattled terror suspect. He could not speak, but was said to have communicated via writing.
Currently, he sits in the hospital, granted Miranda rights and not considered an “enemy combatant,” a decision strewn straight from the White House. He’s been appointed a public defender, after answering “No” to an affordability question over a defense counsel.
As more details unraveled, it became clear that the Tsarnaevs were from Chechnya, an extremely separatist country in common-conflict with Russia. Both men were practitioners of Islam, and Tamerlan, as family and neighbors noted, was very religious and used derogatory phrases about the Bible, saying, “(It) is a cheap version of the Koran.”
Though just about every hour new details come in, there is an overwhelming argument taking place within the American populace, should the terror suspect be granted his citizenry rights? Or should he be tried exclusively by Federal agents, without Miranda rights? Well, it seems that was answered, but what is right? (Feel free to comment below).
Though days went by with the enemies in our midst, it’s difficult to assume that the aura of this travesty will dissipate as quickly as the suspects were brought to justice. R.I.P. to all those lost on April 15th and the days thereafter.