Boston honors bombing victims; suspect unable to speak

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At 2:50 p.m. Monday, Boston will fall silent to honor the victims of a tragedy that unhinged the city.

A minute later, bells will ring to mark the Boston Marathon bombings one week ago today.

As Americans reflect on the attacks, the lone surviving suspect remains hospitalized with a tube down his throat, unable to verbalize what he was thinking when a pair of bombs killed three people and wounded more than 170 others.

While authorities say Bostonians can rest easier now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in custody, nagging questions hinder any total sense of security: Why would the assailants want to kill or maim throngs of innocent civilians, and could this happen again?

Police chief: The carnage could have been worse

In the tumultuous days since the bombings, Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan killed a university police officer, led authorities on a harrowing chase and hurled explosives at police, authorities said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gun battle with officers in which more than 200 rounds were exchanged. His official cause of death has not been released; he also had explosives on his body and was run over by his brother during the melee, officials said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found less than a day later, hiding in a boat and bleeding in a man’s backyard in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said he believed the brothers were planning another attack before the shootout with police disrupted their plans.

“We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at the scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower — that they were going to attack other individuals,” Davis said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

He did not say whether investigators had identified a specific target.

Authorities believe the brothers bought bomb components locally but believe their guns came from elsewhere, another federal law enforcement official said. The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the case, said authorities are trying to trace the guns.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether anyone else was behind the bombings.

But Davis told CNN’s Don Lemon that he was confident that the brothers were “the two major actors in the violence that occurred.”

“I told the people of Boston that they can rest easily, that the two people who were committing these vicious attacks are either dead or arrested, and I still believe that,” the police chief said Sunday.

Clues about radicalization?

While investigators piece together the brothers’ actions leading up to the marathon bombings, details have emerged suggesting the elder Tsarnaev was turning radical.

The Tsarnaev family hails from the Russian republic of Chechnya and fled the brutal wars there in the 1990s. The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, authorities said.

An FBI official said agents interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of the Russian government. The FBI said Russia claimed that he was a follower of radical Islam and that he had changed drastically since 2010.

But the Russian government’s request was vague, a U.S. official and a law enforcement source said Sunday. The lack of specifics limited how much the FBI was able to investigate Tamerlan, the law enforcement official said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev apparently became increasingly radical in the past three or four years, according to an analysis of his social media accounts and the recollections of family members. But so far, there has been no evidence of active association with international jihadist groups.

In August 2012, soon after returning from a visit to Russia, the elder Tsarnaev brother created a YouTube channel with links to a number of videos. Two videos under a category labeled “Terrorists” were deleted. It’s not clear when or by whom.

Moving forward

A week after the marathon bombings, 55 people remain hospitalized, including three in critical condition, according to a CNN tally.

At least a dozen survivors have endured amputations.

Tsarnaev, meanwhile, remains in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to his neck, a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Sunday.

It’s unclear whether Tsarnaev was wounded during his capture or in the earlier shootout with police that left his older brother dead, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“He’s not in a condition to be interrogated at this time,” Davis told reporters Sunday afternoon.

Authorities have not publicly stated what charges will be filed against Tsarnaev, but a Justice Department official who has been briefed on the case told CNN he will face federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges.

While Massachusetts does not have a death penalty, prosecutors could seek the death penalty at the federal level.

A run to remember

On the one-week anniversary of the Boston attacks, thousands of runners across the country will pound the pavement in a show of unity and support for the victims and their families.

At least 80 cities are participating in a “Run for Boston in Your City” campaign called #BostonStrong, organizer Brian Kelley said.

The global campaign is “a run for those that were unable to finish, a run for those that may never run again” and “a run for us to try and make sense of the tragedy that has forever changed something we love.”

CNN’s Tim Lister, Paul Cruickshank, Deborah Feyerick, Jill Dougherty, Pamela Brown, Julian Cummings, Barbara Starr, Susan Candiotti and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • KES

    Yep, there are a LOT of pieces that don't fit . . .I surmise that the law enforcement is painting the picture they want us to see & the press is going along. Things just don't add up…(a) if the green honda was accessible during the firearm exchange in the street during the early hours of Friday morning, that changes the report that the brothers were in the SUV together ('they stopped their car (presumably the stolen SUV). . . and at some point went around the honda & start heaving a device at our officers' , (b) why haven't we seen photos of the green honda? (c) why did the authorities need to confirm Dzhokhar's presence in the boat with an infrared camera if the cops exchanged a 'brief but ferocious volley of fire' soon after the homeowner's discovery, (c) so, were any firearms found in the boat? …how come that detail has not been addressed? (d) what firearms were found in the Honda or the SUV?

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