Cumberland Times-News

April 21, 2013

Police: Bombing suspects planned more attacks

ALLEN G. BREED, STEVE PEOPLES
Associated Press

— BOSTON — As churches paused to mourn the dead and console the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing Sunday, the city’s police commissioner said the two suspects had such a large cache of weapons that they were probably planning other attacks. The surviving suspect remained hospitalized and unable to speak with a gunshot wound to the throat.

After the two brothers engaged in a gun battle with police early Friday, authorities found many unexploded homemade bombs at the scene, along with more than 250 rounds of ammunition.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the stockpile was “as dangerous as it gets in urban policing.”

“We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had — that they were going to attack other individuals. That’s my belief at this point.” Davis told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” he said authorities cannot be positive there are not more explosives somewhere that have not been found. But the people of Boston are safe, he insisted.

The suspects in the twin bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 180 are two ethnic Chechen brothers from southern Russia — 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan. Their motive remained unclear.

The older brother was killed during a getaway attempt. The younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was still in serious condition Sunday after his capture Friday from a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard. Authorities would not comment on whether he had been questioned.

Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tsarnaev’s throat wound raised questions about when he will be able to talk again, if ever.

The wound “doesn’t mean he can’t communicate, but right now I think he’s in a condition where we can’t get any information from him at all,” Coats told ABC’s “This Week.”

Media outlets were reporting late Sunday that Tsarnaev communicated in writing with officials several times.

It was not clear whether Tsarnaev was shot by police or inflicted the wound himself.

In the final standoff with police, shots were fired from the boat, but investigators have not determined where the gunfire was aimed, Davis said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the parents of Tamerlan Tsarnaev insisted Sunday that he came to Dagestan and Chechnya last year to visit relatives and had nothing to do with the militants operating in the volatile part of Russia. His father said he slept much of the time.

The younger Tsarnaev could be charged any day. The most serious charge available to federal prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

Across the rattled streets of Boston, churches opened their doors to remember the dead and ease the grief of the living.

At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in South Boston, photographs of the three people killed in the attack and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer slain Thursday were displayed on the altar, each face illuminated by a glowing white pillar candle.

A six-block segment of Boylston Street, where the bombs were detonated, remained closed Sunday. But city officials were mapping out a plan to reopen it.