Police Kill 1 Boston Bombing Suspect, Search For The Second

Parts of the Boston metropolitan area were full of police activity Thursday night amid a hunt for persons wanted in connection with the bombings at the Boston Marathon. David Greene and Steve Inskeep talk to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston and Fred Bever of member station WBUR, who are in Boston, for an update on what's known regarding the investigation.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Law enforcement authorities in the Boston area now believe they have killed one of the suspects in this week's bombing of the Boston Marathon.

GREENE: A second suspect is still at large. Here's how Massachusetts State Police Colonel Tim Alben describes him.

COLONEL TIM ALBEN: What we're looking for right now is a suspect consistent with the description of suspect number two, the white-capped individual who was involved in Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon.

GREENE: That announcement came near the end of an astonishing night of events in and around Boston.

INSKEEP: Police believe the suspects killed a police officer, wanted another officer, robbed a 7-Eleven, carjacked a vehicle and led police on a chase while throwing explosives.

NPR's Tovia Smith is going to begin here by taking us through all of these events. And Tovia, just slow down the timeline for us a little bit here. What happened when?

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: Well, it has been a long and scary and confusing and frantic ordeal, Steve. And it's not over, as you suggested, because as we heard a short while ago from Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, he said he couldn't have been more clear that we believe this to be a terrorist, we believe this to be a man who has come here to kill people and we need to get him into custody. And he's warning everybody to not go outside, to stay indoors. A 20 block perimeter has been closed down and shut down and surrounded by police. But it started hours ago. It started around 10:30 last night at MIT, that's in Cambridge, just across the river from the sight of the finish line, about a half-mile, I would say, and campus police were responding to a disturbance report. An officer was reportedly, shot and he shortly died of gunshot wounds. After that, as you suggest, in rapid fire, there was a carjacking that she was in Cambridge of a Mercedes SUV, according to police. That car, police say, was found in Watertown and pursued by police there...

INSKEEP: We're talking about Boston suburbs. Everything very close to central Boston here.

SMITH: Correct.

INSKEEP: All right. Go on.

SMITH: Right. Watertown is just about 10 minutes outside of the city.

INSKEEP: OK.

SMITH: They ended up in a residential neighborhood. Gunfire erupted between; there was an MBTA police officer and Watertown police...

INSKEEP: That's - MBTA, that's a transit cop?

SMITH: That's exactly right. And that's the T - fondly known as the T - and Watertown police, and a gunfight erupted between them and the two suspects in the SUV. At some point those suspects began throwing, discharging, explosive devices from their car at police. One suspect was struck and taken into custody, a second suspect fled, and that is the one that they are searching for - as they said, the white-capped individual suspect number two, the images that we've been seeing all night.

INSKEEP: Now is it true that at some point they also have videotape of these guys - or one of them, anyway - robbing a 7-Eleven?

SMITH: That is correct. And that is what they are telling people, is the same individual as suspect number two and folks should be on the lookout for. And using that description, that is the person who is believed to be, as they say, armed and dangerous and a threat to anyone who might approach him.

INSKEEP: And then Tovia, let's play a little more from Tim Alben, who we just heard from, describing the person that the police are looking for and that they want the public to be careful about.

ALBEN: We have a picture, a video, from the 7-Eleven in Cambridge, last night, that he is dressed in a gray hoodie-type sweatshirt. He's a light skinned or Caucasian male with longer, brown, curly hair. You've seen the picture; you all have it, that's the individual that we're looking for at this moment.

GREENE: And Tovia, let's be absolutely clear about something here, this person that we just heard Colonel Tim Alben described and the other suspect, these are two men who the authorities believe were - are suspects and may have been involved in the Boston Marathon bombing. These are the two men in the images that they feel they might have seen at the site of the marathon bombing. They've released the photos of these two men. We are talking about the same people here.

SMITH: This is according to the police. They say that we are looking for a suspect consistent with the white-capped individual - suspect number two. They're using that name, though they're not using any other identifying...they're not giving any names.

INSKEEP: And let's be clear, when they say the white-capped individual, there's also a guy described as the black-capped individual who is now believed to be dead. And when we say consistent with the individual, they don't have that second person yet. We may discover it's somebody else. There's some wiggle room here, but we're telling you what police are telling us at this time. Go on, go on.

SMITH: I would say that's right but I would say that based on the image from 7-Eleven, that would be the one that they believe is the same person who is on the loose in the area of Watertown and that they are frantically looking for now.

GREENE: Tovia, stay on the line if you can. We want to turn to NPR's Curt Nickisch right now. Curt, you've been out on the streets, I mean, in Watertown, this suburb of Boston where this car chase and all this activity was happening. I mean, this has to be terrifying for people in this community.

CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: Oh, it is. It was a very chaotic scene here a few hours ago, and it still is very, very nerve-wracking. Because there was a time there, where law enforcement vehicles were just pouring into these neighborhoods, coming from all different directions and then turning every which way. Police were telling residents to get back in their homes - those that were outside - to go to the interior or even to the rear of their homes. And meanwhile, they've been searching all around. I've been in touch with people inside there ever since the police have pushed - created perimeter and pushed the media and other bystanders back.

GREENE: You've been in touch with people who are still around this area.

NICKISCH: And other...there are SWAT teams walking through and dog teams sniffing through all these yards.

GREENE: I mean, this is not just...I mean, this is someone who police are considering a terrorist right now. I mean, has that message gotten through to people or do they feel like they're getting the information they need?

NICKISCH: I think they were woken up, many of them, by what one person told me was about 50 rounds of gunfire and then three loud explosions. So, those who woke up to that were certainly alarmed and taking it seriously. Now that the people have explicitly said that this is a terrorist that they're looking for. Anybody who's heard or seen that.

INSKEEP: I just want to mention there surely are people waking up in Watertown, Massachusetts and hearing this. And I say waking up - there are people who slept through this whole thing. We have colleagues who called people in the Boston area who slept through this whole thing. If people are just waking up now, authorities are urging people in that area to stay in their homes, don't open the door for anybody but a police officer, don't be driving through that area. They are urging people to stay safe and stay out of the way if they can, because this is an active manhunt.

NICKISCH: Absolutely, absolutely. And, I think, a lot of folks have been woken up just by the lights and the activity and so on. But certainly, anybody who's just sort of waking up to this reality has to take it extremely seriously.

INSKEEP: So, you said one person you talked to heard what they thought was 50 rounds of gunfire? I mean, that's not expert witness, but wow, that's a lot of shooting, Curt Nickisch.

NICKISCH: That was certainly a lot of shooting. What alarmed this person also was the three explosions. And police in their broadcasts were startled by that too. They warned everyone else of grenades at first then they thought that the suspects might have been throwing dynamite. We don't know what those devices were, but there were at least three detonations.

INSKEEP: OK. Curt, thanks very much.

NICKISCH: Absolutely.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Curt Nickisch. We were also joined by NPR's Tovia Smith. And we're going to continue to follow this story throughout the hour, throughout the morning, as police in the Boston area say they have killed one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and they are chasing a person described as consistent with the description of the second suspect, last seen in the Watertown, Massachusetts area. You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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