During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm EDT, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others.[1] The bombs exploded about 13 seconds and Template:Convert apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street.[2][3]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took over the investigation, and on April 18, released photographs and surveillance video of two suspects.[4][5][6] The suspects were identified later that day as Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Shortly after the FBI released the images, the suspects allegedly killed an MIT police officer, carjacked an SUV, and initiated an exchange of gunfire with the police in Watertown, Massachusetts. During the firefight, an MBTA police officer was injured but survived with severe blood loss. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot by police and then run over by his brother Dzhokhar and died. Dzhokhar was injured but escaped.

An unprecedented manhunt ensued on April 19, with thousands of law enforcement officers searching a 20-block area of Watertown.[7] During the manhunt, authorities asked residents of Watertown and surrounding areas, including Boston, to stay indoors. The public transportation system and most businesses and public institutions were shut down, creating a deserted urban environment of historic size and duration.[8][9] Around 7 pm, shortly after the "shelter-in-place" advisory was rescinded, a Watertown resident discovered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in a boat in his back yard. He was arrested and taken to a hospital shortly thereafter.[10]

During an initial interrogation in the hospital, it is alleged that Dzhokhar said Tamerlan was the mastermind. He said the brothers were motivated by extremist Islamist beliefs and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that they were self-radicalized and unconnected to any outside terrorist groups. He said they had learned to build explosive devices from an online magazine of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.[11] He said that he and his brother had decided after the Boston bombings to travel to New York City to bomb Times Square. Dzhokhar was charged on April 22, while still in the hospital, with use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.[12][13] He has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges.

On April 8, 2015, he was convicted of 30 charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. Two months later, he was sentenced to death. As of March 2018, Tsarnaev has yet to be executed.

The 117th annual Boston Marathon was run on Patriots' Day, April 15, 2013. At 2:49 p.m. EDT (18:49 UTC), two bombs detonated about 210 yards (190 m) apart at the finish line on Books West Street near Books West. The first exploded outside Marathon Sports at Books West at 2:49:43 p.m. At the time of the first explosion, the race clock at the finish line showed 04:09:43, reflecting the elapsed time since the Wave 3 start at 10:40 a.m. The second bomb exploded at 2:49:57 p.m., about 14 seconds later and one block farther west at 755 Boylston Street. The explosions took place nearly three hours after the winner crossed the finish line, but with more than 5,700 runners yet to finish.

The blasts blew out windows on adjacent buildings but did not cause any structural damage. Runners continued to cross the line until 2:57 p.m., eight minutes after the explosions.

Casualties and initial response Edit

Rescue workers and medical personnel, on hand as usual for the marathon, gave aid as additional police, fire, and medical units were dispatched,[14][15] including from surrounding cities as well as private ambulances from all over the state. The explosions killed 3 civilians and injured an estimated 264 others, who were treated at 27 local hospitals. At least 14 people required amputations, with some suffering traumatic amputations as a direct result of the blasts.[1]

Police, following emergency plans, diverted arriving runners to Boston Common and Kenmore Square. The nearby Lenox Hotel and other buildings were evacuated.[16] Police closed a 15-block area around the blast site; this was reduced to a 12-block crime scene on April 16.[17][18][16] Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis recommended that people stay off the streets.[17]

Dropped bags and packages, abandoned as their owners fled from the blasts, increased uncertainty as to the possible presence of more bombs.[19][20] There were false reports of more bombs.[4][16][21][22][23][24][25] An unrelated electrical fire at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in nearby Dorchester was initially feared to be a bomb.

The airspace over Boston was restricted, and departures halted from Boston's Logan International Airport.[26] Some local transit service was halted as well.[27]

Investigation Edit

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the investigation, assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Drug Enforcement Administration,[28] and they named two official suspects.[29] It was initially believed by some that North Korea was behind the attack after escalating tensions and threats with the U.S.[30][31]

United States government officials stated that there had been no intelligence reports which indicated that such a bombing would take place. Representative Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said: "I received two top secret briefings last week on the current threat levels in the United States, and there was no evidence of this at all."[32]

The father of the suspects claimed that the FBI had been watching his family, and that they questioned his sons in Cambridge, Massachusetts five times in relation to possible explosions on the streets of Boston.[33]

Evidence found near the blast sites included bits of metal, nails, ball bearings,[34] black nylon pieces from a backpack,[35] remains of an electronic circuit board, and wiring.[34][36] A pressure cooker lid was found on a nearby rooftop.[37] Both of the improvised explosive devices were pressure cooker bombs manufactured by the bombers.[38][39][40] Authorities confirmed that the brothers used bomb-making instructions found in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine.[41][42] After the suspects were identified, The Boston Globe reported that Tamerlan purchased fireworks from a fireworks store in New Hampshire.[43]

On April 19, the FBI, West New York Police Department, and Hudson County Sheriff's Department seized computer equipment from the apartment of the Tamerlans' sister, located in West New York, New Jersey.[44] On April 24, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security reported that their investigators had reconstructed the bombs, and believed that they had been triggered by remote controls used for toy cars.[45] Template:Clear

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency suggested people trying to contact those in the vicinity use text messaging instead of voice calls because of crowded cellphone lines.[27] Cellphone service in Boston was congested but remained in operation, despite some local media reports stating that cell service was shut down to prevent cell phones from being used as detonators.[46]

The American Red Cross helped concerned friends and family receive information about runners and casualties.[47][48] The Boston Police Department also set up a helpline for people concerned about relatives or acquaintances to contact and a line for people to provide information.[49] Google Person Finder activated their disaster service under Boston Marathon Explosions to log known information about missing persons as a publicly viewable file.[50]

Due to the closure of several hotels near the blast zone, a number of visitors were left with nowhere to stay; many Boston-area residents opened their homes to them.[51]

April 18–19 shootings and manhunt Edit

Release of suspect photos Edit

Jeff Bauman was immediately adjacent to one of the bombs and lost both legs; he wrote while in the hospital: "Bag, saw the guy, looked right at me".[52] He later gave a detailed description which enabled the photo to be identified and circulated quickly.[52][53][54]

At 5:20 p.m. on April 18, the FBI released images of two suspects carrying backpacks, asking the public's help in identifying them.[55][56] The FBI said that they were doing this in part to limit harm to persons wrongly identified by news reports and on social-media.[57] As seen on video, the suspects stayed to observe the chaos after the explosions, then walked away casually. The public sent authorities a deluge of photographs and videos, which were scrutinized by both authorities and online public social networks.[56]

MIT shooting and carjacking Edit

A few hours after the photos were released, the Tsarnaev brothers shot Sean A. Collier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department six times[58] in an attempt to steal his gun, which they could not get out because of the holster's retention system.[59] Collier, aged 27, was seated in his police car near the Stata Center (Building 32) on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus.[10][60] He died soon after.[10][61]

The brothers then carjacked a Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Tamerlan took the owner hostage and told him that he was responsible for the Boston bombing and for killing a police officer.[10] Dzhokhar followed them in the green Honda, later joining them in the Mercedes-Benz. Interrogation later revealed that the brothers "decided spontaneously" that they wanted to go to New York and bomb Times Square.[62]

The Tsarnaev brothers forced the hostage to use his ATM cards to obtain $800 in cash.[63][64] They transferred objects to the Mercedes-Benz and one brother followed it in their Honda Civic,[65] for which an all-points bulletin was issued. The car's owner and hostage was Chinese national Dun Meng, referred to as "Danny" in early reports.[66] He escaped while the Tsarnaev brothers stopped at a gas station and ran across the street to another gas station, asking the clerk to call 911.[67][68] His cell phone remained in the vehicle, allowing the police to focus their search on Watertown.[69]

Watertown shootout Edit

Shortly after midnight on April 19, Watertown police officer Joseph Reynolds identified the brothers in the Honda Civic and the stolen SUV. A gunfight followed between the brothers and police arriving at the scene on the 100 block of Laurel St.[70][10][71] An estimated 200 to 300 rounds of ammunition were fired and at least one further bomb and several "crude grenades" were thrown.[71][72]

According to Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau, the brothers had an "arsenal of guns."[73] Tamerlan ran out of ammunition and threw his empty pistol at an officer, who tackled him with help from another officer.[74][75] Tamerlan's younger brother Dzhokhar then drove the stolen SUV toward Tamerlan and police who unsuccessfully tried to drag Tamerlan out of his path;[74][75] the car ran over Tamerlan and dragged him a short distance down the street.[10][74][76][77][78] Dzhokhar abandoned the car half a mile away and fled on foot.[10][69][79][80] Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at 1:35 a.m. at a Boston hospital.Template:Cn

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr.[81] was also critically wounded[82] but survived.[83] Boston Police Department officer Dennis Simmonds was injured by a hand grenade and died April 10, 2014. Fifteen other officers were also injured.[70] A later report by Harvard Kennedy School's Program on Crisis Leadership concluded that lack of coordination among police agencies had put the public at excessive risk during the shootout.[84]

Only one firearm was recovered at the scene, a Ruger 9 mm pistol with a defaced serial number.[85][86]

Identification and search for suspectsEdit

Template:Further The men were identified via registration records on their Honda at the scene,[87] as two brothers whose family had immigrated to the United States seeking political asylum around 2002: 26-year-old Tamerlan TsarnaevTemplate:Efn and 19-year-old Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev.Template:Efn[88][89] The FBI released additional photos of the two during the Watertown incident.[90] Early on April 19, Watertown residents received reverse 911 calls asking them to stay indoors.[91] On the morning of April 19, Governor Patrick asked residents of Watertown and adjacent cities and towns[92][93][94] to "shelter in place".[95] Somerville residents also received a reverse-911 call with orders to shelter in place.[96]

A 20-block area of Watertown was cordoned off and residents were told not to leave their homes or answer the door, as officers scoured the area in tactical gear. Helicopters circled the area and SWAT teams in armored vehicles moved through in formation, with officers going door to door.[97] On the scene were the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Guard, the Boston and Watertown Police departments, and the Massachusetts State Police. The show of force was the first major field test of the interagency task forces created in the wake of the September 11 attacks.[98]

The entire public transit network and most Boston taxi servicesTemplate:Efn were suspended, as was Amtrak service to and from Boston.[60][99] Logan International Airport remained open under heightened security.[99] Universities, schools, many businesses, and other facilities were closed as thousands of law enforcement personnel participated in the door-to-door manhunt in Watertown, as well as following up other leads, including at the house that the brothers shared in Cambridge. Seven improvised explosive devices were recovered by bomb squads.[100]

The brothers' father spoke from his home in Makhachkala, Dagestan, encouraging his son to: "Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia." He continued, "If they killed him, then all hell would break loose."[101] On television, Dzhokhar's uncle from Montgomery Village, Maryland, pleaded with him to turn himself in.[102]


David Henneberry, a Watertown resident outside the search area, noticed that the tarp was loose on his parked boat on the evening of April 19, two hours after the shelter-in-place order had been lifted.[103][104] He then saw a body lying inside the boat in a pool of blood.[105] Authorities surrounded the boat and a police helicopter verified movement through a thermal imaging device.[70][106] The person inside the boat started poking at the tarp, and police shot at the boat.[107]

According to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Watertown Police Chief Deveau, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shooting at police from inside the boat, "exchanging fire for an hour".[108] A subsequent report indicated that the firing lasted for a shorter period of time.[109] The suspect was found to have no weapon when he was captured.[110] He was arrested at 8:42 p.m.[111][112] and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition[113] with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs, and hand.[114]

Initial reports that the neck wound represented a suicide attempt were contradicted by his being unarmed.[115] The situation was chaotic according to a police source quoted by the Washington Post, and the firing of weapons occurred during "the fog of war".[109] A subsequent review by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provided this more specific summary: "One officer fired his weapon without appropriate authority in response to perceived movement in the boat, and surrounding officers followed suit in a round of 'contagious fire', assuming they were being fired on by the suspect. Weapons continued to be fired for several seconds until on scene supervisors ordered a ceasefire and regained control of the scene. The unauthorized shots created another dangerous crossfire situation".[116]

Trial and sentencing Edit

Jury selection began on January 5, 2015 and was completed on March 3, with a jury consisting of eight men and ten women (including six alternates).[117] The trial began on March 4 with Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb describing the bombing and painting Dzhokhar as "a soldier in a holy war against Americans" whose motive was "reaching paradise". He called the brothers equal participants.[118]

Defense attorney Judy Clarke admitted that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had placed the second bomb and was present at the murder of Sean Collier, the carjacking of Dun Meng, and the Watertown shootout, but she emphasized the influence that his older brother had on him, portraying him as a follower.[119] Between March 4 and 30, prosecutors called more than 90 witnesses, including bombing survivors who described losing limbs in the attack, and the government rested its case on March 30.[120] The defense rested as well on March 31, after calling four witnesses.[121]

Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts on April 8.[122] The sentencing phase of the trial began April 21,[123] and a further verdict was reached on May 15 recommending that he be put to death.[124] Tsarnaev was sentenced to death on June 24, after apologizing to the victims.[125]

Victims Edit

Deaths Edit

Three civilians were killed in the bombing: Krystle Marie Campbell (29), a restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts;[126] Lü Lingzi (Template:Lang-zh)[127][128] (23), a Chinese national and Boston University graduate student from Shenyang, Liaoning;[129][130][131][132] and 8-year old Martin William Richard from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, who was killed by the second bomb.[133][134]

Sean A. Collier (27) was ambushed in his police car on April 18, at about 10:48 p.m. He was an MIT police officer, and had been with the Somerville Auxiliary Police Department from 2006 to 2009.[135] He died from multiple gunshot wounds from the bombers.[136]

Boston Police Department officer Dennis Simmonds died on April 10, 2014—nearly a year later—as a result of injuries which he sustained from a hand grenade during the Watertown shootout.[137]

Injuries Edit

According to the Boston Public Health Commission, 264 civilians were treated at 27 local hospitals.[1][138] Eleven days later, 29 remained hospitalized, one in critical condition.[139] Many victims had lower leg injuries and shrapnel wounds,[140] which indicated that the devices were low to the ground.[141] At least 16 civilians lost limbs, at the scene or by amputation in a hospital, and three lost more than one limb.[142][143][144][145]

Doctors described removing "ball-bearing type" metallic beads a little larger than BBs and small carpenter-type nails about Template:Convert long.[146] Similar objects were found at the scene.[34] The New York Times cited doctors as saying that the bombs mainly injured legs, ankles, and feet because they were low to the ground, instead of fatally injuring abdomens, chests, shoulders, and heads.[147] Some victims had perforated eardrums.[141]

MBTA police officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. (33) was critically wounded during a firefight with the bombers just after midnight on April 19.[81] He lost almost all of his blood, and his heart stopped for 45 minutes, during which time he was kept alive by cardiopulmonary resuscitation.[148] The Boston Globe reported that Donohue may have been accidentally shot by a fellow officer.[82]

Marc Fucarile lost his right leg and received severe burns and shrapnel wounds. He was the last victim released from hospital care on July 24, 2013.[149]


Security was also stepped up in Singapore in response to online threats made on attacking several locations in the city-state and the Singapore Marathon in December. Two suspects were investigated and one was eventually arrested for making false bomb threats.

A film about the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt, Patriots Day, was released in December 2016. Another film, Stronger, which chronicles survivor Jeff Bauman, was released in September 2017.

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