How The Boston Manhunt Unfolded

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National security correspondent Tom Gjelten talks to Melissa Block about the latest on the Boston Marathon bombers.


The manhunt underway in Boston is virtually without precedent. An entire city is shut down as authorities look for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Joining us now for more on that manhunt is NPR's Tom Gjelten, and Tom, why don't you give us a quick timeline of the search so far.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: Well, Melissa, the encounter with the police really began with that carjacking that you referred to earlier. The police were alerted when these two brothers apparently carjacked a Mercedes SUV. The police gave chase and that chase ended on this Watertown street with this gunfire that we just have heard about.

Now the best account of this, actually the most interesting one to me, comes from someone, a young man named Andrew who witnessed the whole thing out his apartment window. He says the two brothers got out of a car, actually were throwing explosive devices at the police, engaging in gunfire with them. Tamerlan, the older one, went down. Dzhokhar, at that point, gets back in the Mercedes and makes a run for it, goes straight at the police who are marching toward him and that's apparently how he got away.

He then - that was in Watertown. He disappeared, and they've been looking for him ever since.

BLOCK: You know, I was talking with a woman who lives in Watertown, in this area, earlier today. And she said, if you ever want to know what it feels like to be in a police state, this is it because every street now is flooded with SWAT teams, law enforcement officers. They have not been able to find this 19-year-old suspect.

GJELTEN: An entire day. More than a day has gone by. And you know what, Melissa? At the beginning they were talking about him, we heard terms like he's holed up. And as the day has gone on, the search has not narrowed, it has widened. They're searching a bigger and bigger area, which makes you think that they have less of an idea about where he is now than they may have thought they had hours and hours ago.

BLOCK: And Tom, the bigger picture: one brother is dead; one's still at large. They've got to be looking at any contacts these brothers had, travel they may have engaged in.

GJELTEN: The big question in a situation like this, Melissa, is: Would there be any other attacks coming? Are there other people involved? Was this a plot? So that's the intelligence they really need to track down right away. Are there other people out there? Are there other things being planned? That's the next thing after they find this guy.

BLOCK: And they'd be looking at cell phone records, travel documents, what else?

GJELTEN: They'll be looking, they'll be certainly anxious to interview with wife of Tamerlan. He's married, and he has a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. She would presumably know who he's been associating with.

BLOCK: OK, NPR's Tom Gjelten, Tom thanks.

GJELTEN: You bet.


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