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Boston Area On Lockdown for Manhunt; Bombing Investigation Timeline; Suspect Was Student at U Mass Dartmouth
Aired April 19, 2013 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The two girls are in the middle?
MARET TSARNAEVA, AUNT OF BOMBING SUSPECTS: In the middle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). There are some reports that he or someone by his name posted a video on an al Qaeda YouTube-like account.
TSARNAEVA: Saying what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just a video. It was to do with black banners. It's an end times prophecy as I understand (ph).
TRARNAEVA: This morning, when, you know, I saw the -- like it says, this might be (INAUDIBLE) Twitter site or something. And again, being (INAUDIBLE), might be. And I clicked on that and there's this click. And, by the way, I went in there also, you know, some time ago, and I thought to myself, what an ugly voice (ph) sounds in that clip. That's, you know, even I went in there because, you know, in YouTube there's always something pop up. You watching something like, you know, the secrets, listening to that, and there's something even unrelated will come up. And then it goes on and on and on and on and you just, you know, being -- have - not even interest just to see what shit (ph) is that. Sometimes there's a lot of it. And then you feel like, what shit (ph) is that? You just click on it. And I heard this, this morning. This morning. And I thought, if I was there (INAUDIBLE), why wouldn't just, you know, just out of curiosity (INAUDIBLE) wouldn't go in there also.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you say that your nephews were devout practicing Muslims?
TRARNAEVA: He was not devout practicing. But just recently maybe two years ago he started praying five times a day, which is - I don't see anything bad in it, you know? It takes off your mind, five times, you set up the time, you say gratitude, words to creator. That's it. There is nothing said about this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which nephew is this?
TRARNAEVA: Though I would rather him praying than he would be smoking, doing drugs, and doing some other unlawful stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which nephew are you referring to?
TRARNAEVA: That's Tamerlan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you said he was a devout Christian.
TRARNAEVA: His wife is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wife. I wish you were lawyers like me, because when I listen and speak, I say only what I know (ph). That's why she lives with my other. And it was my sister --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Two brothers. That's the aunt of the two brothers speaking from Canada earlier in the day. We heard from the boy - the young men's uncle, who was quite critical, obviously, of these two young men, calling them essentially losers.
Welcome back to our continuing breaking news coverage of the situation here in Boston. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Boston, Massachusetts, remains, this hour, under a virtual lockdown. Thousands of police, SWAT teams, troops, helicopters, flying overhead. All in search of this man, suspected Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A naturalized U.S. citizen. He's 19 years old. He's considered extremely dangerous. The hunt is focused, but not confined to a series of communities west of Boston Proper, including Cambridge and Watertown.
Now, 21 hours since his photo was first released, Dzhokhar remains on the loose. His older brother, his alleged co-conspirator in the bombing at the marathon, died early this morning in a clash with police from which the younger brother escaped. According to one law enforcement source, actually driving over his brother's body. Here's the brother's uncle in an emotional plea delivered late this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSLAN TSARNI, BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECTS' UNCLE: I say, Dzhokhar, if you're alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness. And the victims, from the injured and from those who left, ask for forgiveness from these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, we are already, obviously, learning a lot about these two suspects. We know that Dzhokhar, who's 19 years old, first came to the United States in 2002. He was eight years old. His family, he came here on a tourist visa, we know with his mother and his - well, at least with his mother.
Let's go back to the aunt now speaking in Canada.
TRARNAEVA: Naturally, I guess, you know, whatever I feel will come out. Natural. It's so natural. What is so different about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you talked to police at all or have they contacted you?
TRARNAEVA: I haven't talked -- nobody is contacting me. I called FBI first line. FBI line. If you have any hints, let us know. That's the number I called because knowing these two boys, knowing -- believing, strongly believing they wouldn't do this, that's why I called.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say to them?
TRARNAEVA: But I called not right away. First reaction was anger. How could this happen? How could this do this? For what? For the sake of what? What beliefs? What prompted them to this? This reaction.
But then I went through material. Whatever is in there. Quickly, quickly. My first call to FBI. They could not have done this. Where are evidence? All you're showing, that's just the footage. Two guys are walking. And I found it strange, Tamerlan is walking in the front, Dzhokhar is in the back. Why wouldn't they come together? Just, you know, together as brothers, as I used to know them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So then are you suspicious that maybe they really didn't do this?
TRARNAEVA: No, I'm suspicious that this was staged. The picture was staged.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By who?
TRARNAEVA: Whoever needs (ph) this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But why would they target your -
TRARNAEVA: Whoever is looking for those who need to be blamed for these attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think they're being set up by someone else, not the authorities. You think they're being set up by someone else?
TRARNAEVA: Who -- what do you mean someone else?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, who is setting them up?
TRARNAEVA: Who is interested in this case? When you're blowing up people, and you want to bring attention to something, for some purpose, you know, you do that math. Why don't you do that math? Why me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police -
TRARNAEVA: As I said, I am used to being set up. Before I left former Soviet Union countries, that's how I lived. Always, straight way. Best student. Best worker. I'm a Chechen. I have to prove myself twice, triple times more than (INAUDIBLE) or (INAUDIBLE) who live on their own land.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say that they have - that they were tracking your nephews overnight, and that they were following a vehicle that they were in and that they were throwing explosives out the window. TRARNAEVA: Nobody said that to me. That's why I'm saying, why I'm not getting contacted if they want to know my opinion. Give me evidence, then ask me. What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you heard those reports, though, that that's what --
TRARNAEVA: Coming to me. And why is it the question -- do you believe -- if you have evidence, if FBI has evidence, why are you asking questions, do I believe they could do this? If they have done this, I have to believe. I just would know that they have done it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you tell us about your nephews? What kind of young men are they?
TRARNAEVA: I told that already. They are normal young men. Athletic. Tamerlan is two -- almost two meters tall. Very athletic. Smart boy. Seemingly did not find himself yet in America because it's not easy. My younger brother, Ruslan, he had a very high expectations of him because he knows he was smart. He knows he could use his potential. But, you know, since -- and then when he found out that he dropped out of university, that was -- Ruslan was desperate because he always demands more of his children, of his nephews, especially Tamerlan is his favorite. So as I said, starting with Dzhokhar is, you know, he's smart guy. Study (ph) well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us about when they came to the United States? Where they had been living before that?
TRARNAEVA: I brought them here. I was in the states going through my paperwork (INAUDIBLE) to Canada.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When was that?
TRARNAEVA: That was 2001. So then in 2002 my older brother came to the states.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their father?
TRARNAEVA: That's when I filed out his paperwork myself, for the refugee protection claim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your older brother -
TRARNAEVA: Older --
COOPER: You've been listening to the aunt of Dzhokhar, who is now on the run. Clearly she - it's either a state of denial or not really aware of the full impact of what is happening here, what is going on. She denies that her nephews could be involved in this. She says they are being set up.
We heard earlier, as you saw from the uncle of these two young men, who clearly has a different opinion, he seems to refer to them as losers, and urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in. He's the only one now still on the loose.
Now, as I was saying, we know Dzhokhar came to the United States in 2002 when he was eight years old. It was said he came with his family. We're not sure exactly what family members. They applied for asylum. He received that asylum and ultimately became a citizen, ironically, on September 11, 2012. It was four years later that his older brother came to the United States, did not receive citizenship, but did have a green card here. His brother, who died in a hail of bullets early this morning at the age of 26. Explosives, according to law enforcement, explosives found on his body with a detonating device. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead there.
I want to check in with our Deborah Feyerick. Obviously we have reporters all throughout Boston and the surrounding areas. She is in Watertown.
Deb, just kind of set the scene of where you are and what you're seeing around you right now.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're in the area where there were three pretty big incidents earlier in the day. The first one happened just about 5:30 when there were a number of cars that came up the street, just behind me. And they went into -- they staged a tactical strike. They went into a home. It's unclear as to why they were looking at that home, why they were targeting that home. But then we understand a forensic team went in following that. So they were looking there.
A couple of hours later, right on the street just in front of me -- and here's what we're seeing all day, Anderson. I'm sure a lot of people are. But, you know, you're seeing these -- sort of heavy artillery vehicles. This actually may just be a shift change. And that's going to work in the favor of law enforcement because you have to remember, this 19-year-old kid, he is -- he may be finding a place to sleep, but he has been up for an awfully long time. He witnessed the death of his brother. And now he is on his own. He is on his own and he is, as far as we know, isolated, though it does appear that he is reaching out to the outside via some sort of device, some sort of an Internet device. So unclear there.
But things are slowing down. There has been a shift change. And what we're being told is that law enforcement is still gearing up for what could be a very long night. The perimeter, very, very fluid. It was really hot here earlier in the day. They actually even stopped a man, put him on the ground, and there was a lot of police presence on that.
But now the perimeter seems to be more fluid. It's going to different areas as investigators go -- track down who Tsarnaev knew, who he was talking to, what friends he may have made. You look on his website and his Twitter account and it looks like he had a number of friends who were at U Mass Dartmouth. And so they're looking at that.
They're just tracking down as many possible leads as they can. But you've got thousands of investigators here in Boston and elsewhere and they are trying to just piece together where he might be, who he might be talking to, and, more importantly, where he might be hiding, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And, obviously, this is a situation which has been ongoing all night. And I'm sure you've been following this all throughout the day as well.
It began around 10:00 last night local time. Police responding to report of a robbery in progress at a 7-Eleven near the MIT campus in Cambridge. Police officers responded there. About 20 minutes later, police also then responded to a report of an altercation nearby. When some police got there, they found a police officer, an MIT police officer, in his vehicle, shot dead. Then there was a report of a carjacking. A chase ensued. A person whose car was jacked was taken by these two men, held for about 30 minutes, finally dropped off near the Charles River.
A chase then continued. It ended up in Watertown, where there was an exchange of gunfire. The older suspect, suspect number one as he was referred to in that initial marathon bombing video, suspect number one was killed by law enforcement personnel. Explosive devices were also used allegedly by the suspects, according to law enforcement personnel. The suspect was found with explosives on his person.
His brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, said to have driven over his brother's body and managed to escape. And that is where we stand now with a manhunt. House to house searches is what we are seeing.
We're joined now by national security analyst and expert Jim Walsh.
It's good to have you here.
JIM WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to be with you.
COOPER: First of all, have you ever seen anything like this in a major metropolitan city in America?
WALSH: First of all, I've never seen anything like it at all. And, in particular, how it is touching various parts of my life. Yesterday, I taught my class at MIT from 1:00 to 3:00. You know, hung out at my office. Then made my way home. Only to see on the news that two blocks from my office a person who works for the same place i do, MIT, had been assassinated.
I woke up this morning to the sound of helicopters. I live - I live on the Watertown border. I woke up. My phone is ringing off the hook. I drive to Watertown blocks from where a reporter is, That's where my studio is. And streets are blocked off. The streets are empty. There were National Guard, tactical police, state police, lots of media satellite trucks. I go into the studio, like I always do, and lock the door, right, because we're all on lockdown now.
WALSH: And then began to talk to your colleagues. And then I received a phone call from my daughter. And my daughter, who grew up in Watertown and grew up in Cambridge, went to school locally, and she asked, dad, you know, what are you doing in the studio? Why aren't you sheltering in place at home? And I explained it to her. And then she said, she had been talking to friends. She did not know the suspects personally, but she had a lot of friends who went to Cambridge Ridge (ph) High School and went to the middle schools. So they had been talking all day through FaceBook and other social media. And they are - and then we've seen this. We've seen this from the classmates, interviews with classmates though the course of the day. Even those who knew him up to about a year ago, and people seemed very, very surprised. But to have my daughter, you know, sort of one circle away, to be at MIT, have a colleague killed, and then to be driving around, it's just (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: I should point that robbery was at a convenience store. Not a 7-Eleven, but a convenience store in Cambridge.
It is very interesting. And there's still a lot we don't know about the dynamic between these two young men. And we don't know if they were the only ones involved in this, if there may be other suspects as well. We do know this older brother did travel to Russia for about six months or so. Left school in order to pursue boxing. Was actually a competitive boxer here in the United States. Won a number of awards with that.
But, again, we do not know -- I mean what's interesting is to hear over the last several hours all the reports from people who knew the younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, who described him as well adjusted, who described him as having friends, who described --
WALSH: Yes. Went to parties.
COOPER: Went to parties. Partied with people.
COOPER: And you can read into that what you will.
The older brother described himself as not drinking alcohol, as not smoking, had either a girlfriend or a wife, we're not sure of their exact relationship, and apparently, according to family members, a three-year-old child as well. So we're trying to find out more about the family dynamic, about any kind of motivation behind that. But right now the obviously -- the -- all resources are being devoted to trying to locate this young man at 19 who could very well be barricaded in somebody's house, could be on the run, we simply don't know.
WALSH: As I was driving to the studio, I had to stop because there were more than a dozen police on this side street next to the studio. I stopped, you know, made myself clear and open to them. They were going house by house, checking houses. I explained what I was doing, then they let me go through.
But, you know, this is so sad. It's so sad in so many ways. A lot of emotion these last several days for someone who lives here, works here, is engaged with all of this. The part of it is -- I'm reminded, sadly, because we have brothers here, of those -- remember the shootings -- series of serial killer shootings in Washington, D.C., where you had a step-father and a son. And it's just even more tragic.
COOPER: Right, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.
COOPER: We've got to take a short break. Our coverage continues in just a moment.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the massive manhunt now going -- now going on here in Boston and surrounding areas, particularly in the area around Watertown. Also a lot of activity in Cambridge. A controlled detonation is expected to take place in the residence where these two brothers have been living. That has not taken place yet. We'll, obviously, want to give warning to anybody in that area when they hear that explosion, that is what police are trying to give plenty of warning on.
There is also now another -- police are on the lookout for - and they want this information out there, police are searching for another potential suspect car, Massachusetts license plate 116GC7. It's a '99 Honda sedan, a green Honda sedan. And, again, it is described as a possible suspect car. Police obviously are saying, do not approach that vehicle. If you do see it, immediately contact law enforcement.
CNN's Carol Costello has been piecing together the timeline of all of this, because it's -- in all the rush to report the latest information, it's very easy to lose sight of how we got here and the extraordinary developments that we have seen over the last 24 hours in this fast and moving manhunt. Take a look.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started Thursday night at 5:10 when the FBI held an extraordinary news conference.
RICHARD DESLAURIERS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, BOSTON FBI OFFICE: Today we are enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects. After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect two is wearing a white hat. Suspect two sat down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, just in front of the Forum (ph) restaurant.
COSTELLO: Thousands of tips poured in.
Flash forward to 10:00 p.m. Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A robbery took place.
COSTELLO: One of them captured on a surveillance camera. Police say it's the suspected marathon bomber in the white hat, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
10:20 p.m., shots are fired at MIT. A campus police officer is found murdered, shot multiple times in his cruiser. It wasn't long after two men carjack a Mercedes SUV. Watertown Police spot the car and all hell breaks loose.
COL. TIMOTHY ALBEN, SUPT. MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: During the course of that pursuit, several explosive devices were discharged from the car at the police officers. In the exchange of the gunfire, we believe that one of the suspects was struck and ultimately taken into custody. A second suspect was able to flee from that car and there is an active search going on at this point and time.
COSTELLO: A transit officer was shot and wounded in the gunfight, but police did shoot one man, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, identified as suspect number one. Tsarnaev later dies at a hospital. Strapped to his body, bombs.
DR. RICHARD WOLFE, BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL CENTER: This was a trauma arrest, multiple injuries, probably we believe a combination of blasts, potentially gunshot wounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many gunshot wounds?
WOLFE: Unable to count.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple gunshot wounds?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the rest of that.
WOLFE: And probably a blast injury also.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blast meaning what?
WOLFE: An explosive device. Possibly shrapnel. Thermal injury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe where it was?
WOLFE: It was pretty much throughout the trunk. It was multiple wounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be -- would it be consistent with perhaps a bomb strapped to (INAUDIBLE) be consistent with that?
WOLFE: Unclear. I think the medical examiner will be able to kind of conclusively say that.
COSTELLO: Police say Tsarnaev's brother manages to escape. He floors it, running over his body's body, scattering a line of police to get away. Police believe the younger Tsarnaev is armed and dangerous and may have explosives strapped to his body too. Police evacuate Watertown and surrounding neighborhoods warning them in robocalls. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. This is Detective Coners (ph) with the Watertown Police Department.
COSTELLO: Soon, the entire city of Boston is on lockdown, public transit stopped, cabs ordered off the road, a no fly zone set up over Boston. By late Friday morning, the manhunt continued.
Carol Costello, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: A manhunt unlike any this city or really any city in the United States has seen probably in our lifetime. Chris Lawrence is on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where the younger suspect actually attended school. He joins us now by phone.
Chris, what are you seeing there?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Anderson, some more developments just in the last half an hour or so. We saw yet another Blackhawk helicopter land here on campus, in a grassy field near the entrance of campus. They -- the crew offloaded a state police tactical team, about a ten-man team, fully armed. They got off the helicopter. They were met by an armored vehicle that pulled up. They loaded up on that armored vehicle and then drove further into the interior of the campus. This is at least the second time we've seen helicopters land here at the campus within the last hour or two.
Clearly there is something of interest. Some potential evidence. Whether that be something that was perhaps left behind, something that investigators want to check out, or perhaps a person or persons that investigators still want to talk to. But clearly, with the police presence here, they feel there is something of interest still here on the campus of U Mass Dartmouth.
We spoke with a lot of the students who know Dzhokhar (ph), that's how they refer to him as just Dzhokhar. Some of them live on the same floor, a couple of doors down in the same dorm. They said they'd see him at the gym a lot. In fact, at least two students said they saw Dzhokhar here on campus after the bombing. They couldn't be sure exactly what time it was. They knew it wasn't in a classroom. They said it was around the dorms. And one of the young men we spoke with who had seen him, he also said that a friend of his had seen him in the gym. That would mean that he would have had to probably swipe his I.D. to get in. We flagged down the provost of the school to try to verify that. They were not going to give any comment. But, again, at least from a couple of students, they claim that they saw Dzhokhar here on campus sometime after the bombing.
The students here were evacuated. It started out with texts and e- mails telling them that they should leave. That then ramped up to resident assistants, RAs, coming to the door, telling them that it was time to go.
We also spoke with one man who was debriefed by the FBI and the state police for several hours earlier this morning. He says that he was the one who helped Dzhokhar move into his dorm when he first got to college here. When he saw the pictures yesterday on one of our broadcasts, he tweeted and posted some posts saying, I know this person. I know who that is. And he said when he got up this morning, there was a knock on his door and there were several investigators at his door basically wanting to talk to him to get his insight on Dzhokhar, what he knew, if anything, inside into his person or people that he may have known. Again, this was very early this morning. He said he talked to them for several hours and then was told, thank you, and he came back here to campus.
So, bottom line, Anderson, right now, U Mass Dartmouth is a ghost town. Students are all gone. The only people that we can see on campus are the SWAT teams and the K-9 units.
COOPER: Chris, let me just clarify one thing. To your knowledge, is he actually now living on campus? You said he had moved into a dorm on campus. There is this other house in Cambridge that police are at and where that controlled detonation is. Are you aware, was he living there in Cambridge or was he living on campus still?
LAWRENCE: I don't know exactly where he was living as of, you know, this week, for the last week or two, but people here say he was still around campus. The young man we spoke with, who lives in the same dorm, the sophomore dorm where he had been living, said, yes, I live a few doors down from him and we'd see him occasionally in the hallways and like that. So we haven't had any trouble here finding people on campus who knew him. Many of them didn't know him all that well. They said he was a big fitness nut, a lot of -- several of the young men we spoke with say where they saw him most was in the gym, working out, lifting weights, and that's where they would have small talk with him. And I can tell you, a lot of folks here -- this may not be all that shocking, but they're surprised. I mean they -- they say he --
COOPER: Obviously, yes.
LAWRENCE: You know, came off as the typical college student. There was nothing to raise any red flags here.
COOPER: All right, Chris Lawrence, I appreciate that reporting. Chris seeing another Blackhawk helicopter. About 10 tactical -- individuals in tactical gear landing, taking some equipment out.