CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

How Sports Help People Heal; Bombing Suspect Held At Hospital; Suspects' Father Heads To U.S.; Official: Suspect May Be Charged At Hospital; Captured Alive; Suspects' Uncle Speaks Out; Suspect Not Read Miranda Rights; Red Sox To Take Field After Bombing; Suspects' Chechen Roots Explored; Death Toll At 14 From West, Texas Plant Explosion; 7.0 Magnitude Quakes Hits Southwestern China

Aired April 20, 2013 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


STEVE SILVA, SR. SPORTS PRODUCER, BOSTON TEAM (via telephone): It's going to be an emotionally charged day. The fans just started rolling in here and everyone is hugging each other. There's going to be special shirts and a special pregame ceremony.

It's a time for us to say, you know, let's give thanks to all those first responders and everyone in law enforcement who brought this portion of the story to a close last night.

Let's try to have a diversion from the serious issues. Our thoughts are going to be with all the victims and those wounded so seriously at the Boston on Monday. We're going to try to use sports as that great rally point. Boston is a sports city. Today is going to be a classic Boston day.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting word, Steve, that the Red Sox are going to be wearing a special home white jersey with the word Boston on it. It will later be signed and auctioned off with proceeds going to the "One Fund Boston Campaign" that helps people affected by the tragic events at the Boston marathon. This is an unusual development, this special jersey. Have you seen it before?

SILVA: I don't know if we saw it after 9/11 or anything like that, but they have the logo and that's going to be the jersey that they are going to wear today. It's happening.

BLITZER: Steve Silva, thanks very much. Enjoy the game over there at Fenway. I know a lot of other people will as well. We'll take a quick break and continue our special coverage right after this.

Just past the top of the hour. I'm Wolf Blitzer live here in Boston. We're continuing our special coverage of the capture of surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings.

It was truly a harrowing ordeal that began with Monday's deadly bombing attack and ended in a shootout in a neighboring Boston suburb last night. As the city paralyzed by this manhunt returns to normal, we're now learning that this 19-year-old accused terrorist may soon be charged even while he's still in the hospital.

I just sat down with the Watertown police chief and in just a few minutes, you're going to hear an incredible play-by-play of exactly what happened and in the moments leading up to the capture.

The father of these brothers who still lives in Russian region of Dagestan told Russian media his son who was on the run at the time was, in his words, a true angel and was framed.

Our Nick Paton Walsh was able to find the father, speaking to him for the first time since the younger son was captured.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: CNN? I'm so sorry. We just wanted to hear your story. We just want to give you the chance to tell people how you feel about this. We just we have a chance to properly hear all you have to say about the terrible circumstances you're in.

Sir, your sons didn't do this? Are you going to America? You will forgive me, sir. It's a difficult time. I'm just trying to do my job. When was the last time you spoke to them? Have you been in touch with the special services here? What did they have to say to you? OK, I understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Just to recap some of what the father said today. He told Nick Paton Walsh he still believes his sons are innocent and the last time he spoke with them was Sunday. He also says he plans to head here to the United States from Dagestan in Russia.

Right now, a heavy police presence inside Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is recovering after being seriously injured. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is right outside the hospital. She's joining us now.

Elizabeth, the federal prosecutors there inside. Could the suspect even though he's recuperating from serious injuries, could he actually be charged today?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is possible that he could be charged while he is still in the hospital. That's according to a Justice Department official whose CNN's Pamela Brown talked to.

They have been inside the hospital, they have been thinking about what to charge him with and yes, those charges could come while he's in the hospital. Now we don't know how long he's going to be in the hospital. He's in serious condition, but that really doesn't tell us very much.

If he has had surgeries, which one would guess he would as he's been involved in these gunfights, you know, it's going to take awhile for him to recover, have those surgeries and recover from them.

Now we are expecting to hear later on what his condition is, but we're really expecting just to hear serious or stable or whatever. We're not expecting any details on how he's doing -- Wolf. BLITZER: What about security over at the hospital? It must be intense right now. Give us a little sense.

COHEN: Yes, I mean, you can definitely see there's a heavy police presence here. We're not allowed to go in and out of the hospital. I was speaking to a doctor who is very familiar with security procedures. He works in a different city.

He said he thinks the suspect is likely handcuffed to the bed and that there are two guards at his side. Sometimes when you're not so worried about a suspect, you might not do the handcuffs and might just put guards outside.

But in this case, he thinks handcuffed to the bed, two guards at his side, as well as guards outside the door. Now we should remember that hospitals like this, big city hospitals are very much accustomed to doing this. They have suspects and inmates in their hospital all the time.

BLITZER: Elizabeth, the man that they are treating, these doctors and nurses suspected of having killed an 8-year-old little boy at the end of the marathon, a 23-year-old young woman from China, a graduate student at Boston University, another 28 or 29-year-old woman who was standing there at the end of the marathon. Now a 26-year-old police officer from MIT, how difficult is it for these medical professionals to really give excellent care to someone accused of these heinous crimes?

COHEN: You know, Wolf, I think that doctors and nurses are human beings and I think it's difficult, but they have to do their jobs. I know that they do well them. I was speaking with some doctors about this. They said, look, you know, we feel anger. We know who these people are.

You know, sometimes they have to treat murderers and people who killed their children or their spouses. They said we feel it, but then we take a deep breath and we do our jobs and we go in and do what we have to do. This hospital gives excellent care. It's a level one trauma center.

I know that they will give care up to the standard of what they usually give. The doctors and nurses who I talked to said you feel it before you go in and treat the patient. When you treat the patient, they are like any other patient. Then you feel afterwards sort of that anger that anybody would feel towards someone like this.

BLITZER: Elizabeth Cohen is over at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here in Boston. Thanks, Elizabeth, for that report.

After the hunt was over last night, Boston police sent out one tweet. I'll quote now, "The hunt is over, the search is done, the terror is over and justice has won. Suspect in custody."

The Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau sat down with me just a little while ago for an exclusive interview here on CNN. He gave me a riveting account of how this 19-year-old suspect was captured. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHIEF EDWARD DEVEAU, WATERTOWN POLICE: It was late in the day. You know, we had a report that we got from our citizens. We asked them to keep vigilant. We got the call and it sounded like really good information.

BLITZER: That person called and said there's a guy in this boat in my backyard. There looks like there's blood there. Pick up the story there.

DEVEAU: And I do want to talk about what happened the night before.

BLITZER: We'll get to that in a second.

DEVEAU: At that point, we had a couple thousand police officers on scene. The turnout was just incredible, the support that we got from the state and from the region. So we had the tactical people to be able to close that scene down and secure it. We did take our time to make sure that everybody was safe in the neighborhood. Eventually we had to use some flash-bangs to render the subject --

BLITZER: Tell everybody what a flash-bang is.

DEVEAU: It's a loud compression that would stun somebody for a short period of time. We began negotiations over a 15-minute period. We were able to get him to stand up and show us that he didn't have a device on him.

BLITZER: He's lying in this boat. He's been there for several hours. He's wounded clearly. He's bleeding. He's obviously weak. You come over there and what do you say to him? You have a bull horn and start saying come out with your hands up?

DEVEAU: We have a negotiator on the second floor of the house looking down at the boat. There was a plastic tarp over him. We had the state police helicopter that could tell us when there was movement in the boat by the heat sensor. So we could tell he was alive and moving and we began negotiations that way. Over a long period of time, we were able to finally get him to surrender without anybody hurt.

BLITZER: You didn't use anymore gunfire in the course?

DEVEAU: There was early gunfire when we first got in the area. He exchanged gunfire with some of the officers and then we secure the scene and there was no more gunfire after that.

BLITZER: What kind of weapon did he have?

DEVEAU: We're not sure. The crime scene is still live down there. The FBI crime scene search is there now. We haven't gone into that boat. We don't what's in that boat. There could be devices.

BLITZER: The FBI is in charge of that? DEVEAU: Of the scene there, yes.

BLITZER: Did he have an explosive vest on his body like his older brother did the night before?

DEVEAU: Well, that was our major concern and that's why no one wanted to go near him until we will be able to get him to understand that we needed him to lift his shirt up so we could see his chest. We felt comfortable to send some people in to take him into custody.

BLITZER: Did he do that?

DEVEAU: Eventually over a long period of time, 20 to 30 minutes. We finally got him to do that.

BLITZER: So he had no explosives with him in the boat as far as you know?

DEVEAU: Not on his person. We haven't got into that boat. It's a decent size so we don't know what else is in there.

BLITZER: Who did the negotiations? Who did the talking with him?

DEVEAU: That would have been the FBI task force.

BLITZER: He raised up his shirt. He showed he wasn't wearing an explosive device and then what happened?

DEVEAU: At that point, we felt comfortable enough to send some officers with tactical equipment to go in and grab him and pull him away from the boat. Then he needed first aid so he was transported by ambulance into a Boston hospital.

BLITZER: And what was the nature of his injuries? I believe the injuries were sustained the night before the exchange that you had with his older brother. Hold on one second. There's a lot of activity moving behind us. We're used to this now. I want to make sure our viewers can hear you. Walk us through the exchange.

DEVEAU: It's a very hectic night where there were so much heroics in a lot of different police departments. But I want to give credit to the men and women of the Watertown Police Department. What happened was there was an assassination of an MIT police officer.

BLITZER: And you believed by these two brothers.

DEVEAU: Yes.

BLITZER: Why did they want to kill this police officer?

DEVEAU: That's still under investigation. He was responding to a just a loud disturbance call and next that happens.

BLITZER: Was it on the campus of MIT or at this convenience store? DEVEAU: I believe it was on campus and then they fled. They did a carjacking and somehow for some reason they ended upcoming to Watertown. That's where our officer engaged the two of them.

BLITZER: So what happened? So pick up the story there. They were in a hijacked car. They took the driver and then let the driver go after the driver supposedly went to an ATM and gave them some money? Is that right?

DEVEAU: Right. There was money withdrawn from his ATM. What happened in Watertown, one of our first police officer, we are getting information based on pinging the cell phone that he's in Watertown so we kind of know what streets he's on.

BLITZER: So Tsarnaev was using his own phone?

DEVEAU: This is the victim's cell phone.

BLITZER: In other words they let the victim go. They had bragged to the victim that they were the bombers of the marathon. Is that right?

DEVEAU: We did the Boston marathon bombing and we killed a police officer.

BLITZER: Did they explain why they let the driver go?

DEVEAU: No.

BLITZER: Thank God they did.

DEVEAU: Lucky for him and lucky for us that his cell phone remained in that vehicle so we were able to get updates. Now it's about 12:30 in the morning down a residential street in Watertown. Everybody is sleeping.

And our officer sees two vehicles. The two brothers are in two different cars including the car that was hijacked. He calls and notifies our station. We do all the proper procedure, do not engage the car. Let's get some more backup.

Before the backup could get there the two cars stop and jump out of the car and unload on our police officer. They both came out shooting guns. Handguns and there was a long arm in the car. We're not exactly sure. We're still piecing that together.

He's under direct fire very close by. He has to jam it in reverse and try to get himself a little distance. The two brothers are shooting at my first police officers that responded. Within seconds I have two or three other police officers that pull up.

We had just finished shifts so two off duty officers heard the call. So I have six police officers in this very tight area engaged in gunfight. We estimate there were over 200 shots fired over a 10- minute period. BLITZER: These two brothers they had a lot of weapons.

DEVEAU: They had pipe bombs and explosives. During the exchange, all of a sudden something got thrown at my police officers. We now find out it's the exact bomb that blew up at the marathon on Monday.

BLITZER: What do you mean like a pressure cooker that type?

DEVEAU: We find the pressure cooker embedded in the car down the street. There's a major explosion during this gunfight of my officers, six of my officers that I'm extremely proud of that heroic. My heart is out to the MIT officer and his family, but how the Watertown police aren't attending a funeral of our own based on what happened on that street is just talent, guts and glory.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: That was the Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau. I spoke with him just a little while ago here in Boston. The surviving suspect has not, repeat not been read his Miranda Rights, which means investigators have a small window to get information from him.

While some people aren't happy about this, a few senators released a strongly worded statement. We'll have that for you and a lot more of the breaking news. CNN's special live coverage will continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Boston bombing suspect's uncle also speaking out. He told our Shannon Travis in an exclusive CNN interview more about the two brothers. Shannon is joining us now from Washington. Shannon, what did the uncle have to say?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He had a lot to say. You'll remember, Wolf, that this is the same uncle from yesterday who essentially attributed his nephew's behavior to them being losers, his words not mine and saying that they brought shame on the family.

Today, I just got back not too long ago from Maryland speaking with the uncle. His name is Ruslan Tsarni. Basically, I began my interview by asking him what's his reaction to his youngest nephew being captured? Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSLAN TSARNI, SUSPECTS' UNCLE: I'm relieved. I'm relieved that he's alive. First of all, that there's now a chance to find out who was behind all this, who were their mentors, and how possibly could he get involved and do this harm to innocent people. And second of all, I stress that there's a chance for Dzhokhar to seek forgiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRAVIS: Now Wolf, the uncle wasn't especially close to this family. He said he essentially broke ties with them in 2009. He had the not seen his nephew since around 2006, hadn't spoken to them since around 2009.

But I also asked him what he felt was Tamerlan, his oldest nephew, what he felt was responsible for some of the changes that he had seen in him over the years. He said he had a conversation with him in 2009 where he basically sensed that the older nephew was becoming a little bit more extreme in his religious views.

The uncle attributed this to someone who was influencing him and used the word brainwashed. He said that this person was a new convert to Islam, that this person was Armenian dissent. I pressed him for a name. He wouldn't tell me that, but he said that it was a family friend -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Shannon, thanks very much. Federal terrorism charges could be filed soon against the bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev even before he's out of the hospital, that according to a U.S. Justice Department official. Already, though, the case is raising some pretty complex legal issues.

Let's bring in our legal guys right now. Avery Friedman is a civil right attorney, law professor. He's joining us from Tampa. Richard Herman is a New York criminal defense attorney, a law professor as well. He's joining us from Las Vegas.

Guys, thanks very much for coming in. Let's start with the fact that the government did not read the suspect his Miranda Rights invoking the public safety exception. Avery, let me start with you. What do you think about that decision?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHT ATTORNEY: I think it's an incorrect decision. I don't think there should be any delay in Mirandizing this. The U.S. attorney's function, Wolf, is to secure a conviction on prosecution.

Now at the same time, intelligence personnel are going to be talking to this individual, talking to Tsarnaev because there are issues unrelated to his personal issue criminality. And Miranda has nothing to do with that, Wolf.

So we're seeing federal officials making the interview, trying to ask questions will have nothing to do with Miranda. I still think it's imperative that a Miranda warning be given because we don't want to jeopardize this prosecution in any way. I think it's imperative that it be done now.

BLITZER: Richard, do you agree?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Wolf, I do think he should be Mirandized, but we have heard interviews you've had earlier today where the Justice Department says they don't care what he says. They can convict this guy right now on all the evidence they have against him.

So if it they don't care, read him his Miranda Rights. The reason there's an exception is when law enforcement feels there's reasonably a clear and present danger to themselves or to the public.

They have a limited window where they can interrogate him by FBI and other Justice Department officials. They can interrogate. This guy I think is still in the hospital. I think he's probably half dead right now. I don't know if he's going to say anything.

BLITZER: Tsarnaev is a naturalized American citizen, 19 years old. He was naturalized last September 11th. Two prominent senators, now a third actually including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, they have suggested that he should be treated as an enemy combatant.

Let me read from the statement that they and others have just released. The suspect based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.

We are encouraged our high value detainee interrogation team, HIG is now involved and working together intelligence about how these terrible acts were committed and the possibility of future attacks.

A decision to not read Miranda Rights to the suspect was sound and in our national security interests. But they go one step further, Avery, and say he shouldn't be tried as a normal U.S. citizen but an enemy combatant.

What do you say to Senator McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Peter King of the House Intelligence Committee who all four of them have issued this statement?

FRIEDMAN: Respectfully, Wolf, this is an American citizen naturalized committing alleged crimes on American soil. There's no question but that this case belongs in an article three a federal district court. The federal courts in Boston have an enormous experience in dealing with terrorism.

I'm mystified at that kind of statement. This belongs in federal court not at Guantanamo. It just doesn't work. This is a federal terrorism case with death penalty specks. It belongs in Boston, belongs in federal district court.

BLITZER: Richard, what do you think?

HERMAN: Yes, Wolf. Avery is right on here. This does not belong in a military tribunal in Guantanamo. The good people of the state of Massachusetts deserve the right to have him tried in federal district court. He will be charged on federal terrorism charges. He will be facing the death penalty and he will get the death penalty if he survives these next few days.

BLITZER: Avery Friedman, Richard Herman, guys thanks as usual for showing up and joining us.

Up next, I'll speak with the president of the Boston City Council. His story is amazing. You'll find out why a high heel, a high heel may have saved his life. This is CNN special live coverage in Boston. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It's the bottom of the hour. I'm Wolf Blitzer live in Boston. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. The terror is over after five days of tragedy, high anxiety, the city can finally rest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": Boston Police Department has just tweeted, suspect in custody. 8:45 p.m., Boston Police Department has just tweeted that the suspect is in custody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: This time yesterday the 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was on the run, a manhunt that brought the city of Boston and the surrounding suburbs to a virtual halt. This morning the most wanted man in America is under police guard and we're told charges could be filed against him literally at any time even though he's in the hospital.

We are also now just learning that the suspect was on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth every single day after the bombing until the Thursday night shootout with police that killed his brother. Last night, he may have been struck again in a hail of police gunfire.

Those gunshots you just heard were from both the police and the suspect returning fire from inside the boat even though he was severely injured and bleeding. This image from CBS News shows the bloody 19-year-old climbing out of a boat parked in a Watertown backyard where he had likely been hiding for hours.

The boat's owner says he saw smeared blood and pulled back the tarp to find Tsarnaev laying there. He was apparently weak from blood loss, but still refused to surrender until the last valley of gunfire.

A lot of police activity certainly unfolding in and around the neighborhood where the younger Tsarnaev was captured last night. Our own Poppy Harlow has been speaking with residents about the ordeal over the past 24 hours. She's joining us now with more.

This community I'm sure, Poppy, was shocked. They are trying to get back to a little bit of normality right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf, shocked, surreal episode unfolding literally outside of their living room windows here. We're about half a block away. Straight behind me is 67 Franklin Street, that's where the suspect was apprehended in that boat in the backyard.

But earlier today as we get more and more of the eyewitness accounts, one of the most compelling I think came from Stacey Rolfe. I talked to her for a while. She lives five doors down from that house where the suspect was camping out. And she talked about what it was like when authorities came up to her door. She answered the door, Wolf, literally to guns pulled in her face because they don't know who is going to answer the door with every home they went to search.

She explained to me all three searches that her house went through during that 24-hour manhunt. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACY ROLFE, WATERTOWN RESIDENT: The first time was a standard sweep. They came through with three to five officers with either automatic weapons or weapons drawn. I opened the back-door just to let them in so they don't have to kick it down. They saw the door open and instinctively drew their weapons on us.

I knew why they were doing it, but it was terrifying. They swept the backyard. The second time that they swept was a little more in- depth. They had the canine units. They swept more intricate our backyard and redid our basement again.

We never lock our basement door so we weren't sure what was down there. At that point, they left us a alone for a little while. Then we got a door bell ring, which was very unique. And they said are you expecting anybody? We're going, no, and especially not at 3:00 in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Wolf, when that shelter in place was lifted here yesterday around 6:00 p.m., an hour before they cornered the suspect, she came outside to talk to neighbors and said, but then she had to literally cover her ears with her hands and run back to the house when they heard the gunshots that our own Drew Griffin heard and reported live on air as well.

So a terrifying experience and in terms of normalcy, I mean, they are trying, but we're not even close because behind me you can't get anywhere near that home. That's because the FBI has been there constantly since they arrested Tsarnaev and they are still searching, scouring the area for any little piece of evidence they can gather.

They need to get anything they can that will give them leads as to motive why this happened. Was there anyone else who helped, Wolf? In terms of what people are talking about, they are relieved, but at the same point in time, the victims, the four who died and the hundreds who were injured, 58 still in the hospital, still very much in their minds.

BLITZER: Poppy Harlow reporting from Watertown for us. Thanks, Poppy, very much. Let's get some more now on the unprecedented lockdown that paralyzed the entire city of Boston and the neighboring suburbs.

Stephen Murphy is Boston's city council president, he is joining us now. Stephen, thanks very much for coming in. Talk about what's going on in Boston right now, but you have an amazing story.

You were there at the end of the Boston marathon. You were with some friends. Tell us what happened because God forbid you could have been in pretty serious condition right now.

STEPHEN MURPHY, BOSTON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: There were a group of seven of us. We had come down Boylston Street east bound to the finish line and crossed over the media bridge right above the finish line where everybody was stationed to take pictures of runners.

And one of the women with us had high heels on. She was having trouble navigating the bridge so her heel got stuck in one of the steps as she was going down. Delayed us probably 30 seconds or 50 feet and we were waiting for our group to get together.

And I was on the sidewalk 50 feet from the first blast site. If it wasn't for that high heel, I would have been in middle of it.

BLITZER: Chilling when you think about it. It's a freaky kind of thing.

MURPHY: It was. The Almighty works in strange ways. This was a better finish to the week than the start.

BLITZER: And that 23-year-old graduate student from Boston University who was killed. She was just going right past you at that time just a few seconds ahead of you.

MURPHY: Yes. We saw her.

BLITZER: Did you remember seeing her?

MURPHY: We saw her leaving the scene with EMTs.

BLITZER: So you heard the explosion. You were right there and you saw that disaster.

MURPHY: I looked to my right because I was watching the finish line on the sidewalk. I saw the giant fireball go up the side of the building. And about 15 seconds later, another blast further off and some of us were together and we said this is more than random now.

This could be a ground zero because all the people were at Boylston Street. I was very impressed with Boston's police and EMS, fire department rushing in right away as well as the Boston Athletic Association marathon volunteers in the yellow jackets rushing past us to go into harm's way.

BLITZER: You're the city council president. How is your beautiful city doing?

MURPHY: I think our beautiful city just showed the world how to take care of terrorism. I'm very Boston proud today. I'm proud of our governor, our mayor, our police officials and all the people who led us through this last five-day period where we did what we had to do to get these people out of circulation. BLITZER: The FBI and federal law enforcement did a pretty good job too.

MURPHY: I should have mentioned them at the outset. Got to thank our president for giving us the resources direct from D.C.

BLITZER: This is a real team project.

MURPHY: It really was. The city was bowed but never broken. We're Boston strong.

BLITZER: Just want to wrap it up. It's over with now. You don't think there are any other suspects on the loose. As far as all the information you have gathered.

MURPHY: I have no information relative to the investigation. I hope it's over. It's the toughest week I can remember in my years on this planet.

BLITZER: Steve, thanks very much.

MURPHY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Great city you have here. Love Boston. As Boston tries to return to normal, what road will sports play? The Sox and the Bruins are about to play. Fans are honoring the city in a special way. Our own John Berman is standing by. He is over at Fenway and that's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: About half an hour or so, sports fans here in Boston will be rooting for their beloved Boston Red Sox. They take on the Royals. The Sox will wear a special edition home jersey with the word Boston on it today honoring the victims in the Boston marathon bombings.

Let's go to CNN's John Berman right now. He is over at Fenway Park. John, I know you love the Boston Red Sox. You're from Boston. Give us a little flavor, the mood of the crowd over at Fenway.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Wolf, I've been here about a thousand times in my life, maybe 10,000 times in my life. I have never felt energy like there is today at Fenway. The fans who have been streaming past us by the Ted Williams Statue behind me say they would not miss this game for anything in the world.

You have to remember this is the first game at Fenway since the bombings last Monday. In some ways the Red Sox have framed this incredible week here in Boston. The Red Sox played last Monday morning before the Boston marathon. That game let out an hour before the bombings, which happened at 4:09 into the marathon race.

But then the Red Sox took off and went on a road trip. In some ways for the team, it's been a very emotional week for them. They paid tribute to the people of Boston while they were on the road. In some ways they started this Boston strong.

They have been putting up a shirt in the dugout that says "Boston Strong." The team really rallied around people. Last night's game, the Red Sox were supposed to play here last night. The game got cancelled as the city was really locked down.

So this afternoon is the first chance that the team has to take the field and the first chance the entire city has to come together and celebrate each other. I think as everyone knows, the city takes the Red Sox very, very seriously.

Take their word for it. Fenway is in some ways the very heart of the city, and they will be paying tribute today. The Red Sox in a special way. Instead of the home white uniforms, it will say Boston on their uniforms.

And the players will sign those jerseys after the game and they will be auctioned off to support the "One Fund," which is in support of all the victims here of the attacks from last Monday. So Wolf, I have to say it is really unbelievable day to be outside here.

BLITZER: Great day to be at Fenway Park. I hope they raise a ton of money for that fund by auctioning off the jerseys. John, thanks very much. John Berman over at Fenway, a tough assignment for him, but he loves the Boston Red Sox, thanks.

We're going to get to more on the investigation coming up. We're going to explore the Boston suspects and their ties to Chechnya. What's going on here? We'll explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The two suspects in the Boston bombing came from a volatile region of Russia. They have ethnic groups in breakaway republic of Chechnya, which has a history of violence against Russia, ties to Muslim extremist groups.

Their family lives in Dagestan, which is in Russia. Christopher Swift is an expert on Chechnya, an adjunct professor of National Security Study at George Town University, Washington, a fellow at University of Virginia Law School. Thanks very much, Professor, for coming in.

It's not clear whether the brothers ethnic ties played any role in their alleged terror actions, but what can you tell us regarding the connection that Chechen radical groups have right now? What's going on as far as Chechnya and Russia is concerned and the possible spill over, if there is one, in the United States?

CHRISTOPHER SWIFT, CHECHNYA EXPERT: Sure, let's be very clear, it's not clear to us yet based on the facts we have whether these two men had any kind of organizational or operational connections to the caucuses Emrit, which is the major insurgent group working in the surrounding areas.

But let me back up and give your viewers a little bit of historical perspective. The tension between Russia and Chechnya goes back about 250 years. Since the Soviet Union fell apart, the Chechens have tried on two occasions to declare their independence and set up an independent country.

There have been two wars since the mid-1990s. The first was a separatist war. Certainly the global Jihadist ideology was a part of it. The second war e me it's a sized into something different. As a result that national movement morphed into a jihad movement similar to the pattern in Syria today.

Now the question of a connection between these two bombers and the caucuses Emrit, the major insurgent group there, you know, if I was in the FBI or the CIA or U.S. government right now, I would want to know was there some kind of communication with a facilitator overseas like we saw with the Fort Hood shooting.

I would want to know if there was training that occurred when the older brother was visiting there such as the New York Times Square bomber. I was pretty convinced this was online radicalization, self- identification, but we need to determine whether there was some kind of mentor or facilitator on the other end.

And we need to determine whether there was any linkage or training on the other end. That's what the national security community will be looking at in the weeks moving ahead.

BLITZER: There are a lot of unanswered questions here and I'm sure you're right. They will be looking at that. Christopher Swift, thanks very much for that analysis.

Up next, more than 3,000 people injured. D ozens have lost their lives after a powerful earthquake. We'll have an update on that. Also our special coverage from here in Boston will continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Developing this hour, a strong earthquake struck southwestern China this morning. At least 113 people are dead, more than 3,000 are injured. Thousands of emergency workers and army have rushed to the area. The China Earthquake Administration says it was a magnitude 7.0 quake. Much more on that story coming up later. More of our special live coverage here in Boston in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're live here in Boston bringing you the latest information on the capture of the marathon bombing suspect. First though, we want to update you on the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. The death toll now is 14 following that massive fertilizer plant explosion that leveled parts of a small town.

Five of the dead were volunteer firefighters, 200 people were injured. The cause of blast is unknown. That's it for this hour. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Boston. When we come back, Jake Tapper will be next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)