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Boston Bombings; 14 Bodies Recovered in Texas Blast; Running Again After Boston; Brothers are Ethnic Chechen Muslims

Aired April 20, 2013 - 07:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. We are here in Boston for you this Saturday morning. We would like to welcome our viewers in the U.S. and around the world.

BERMAN: This is a special edition of CNN SATURDAY MORNING live from Boston.

And this hour, we are gathering all the latest developments in the arrest of the second marathon bombing suspect and really the dramatic end to this historic, unprecedented manhunt.

ROMANS: You know, it had virtually shut down Boston and the surrounding suburbs, this siege, really. So, maybe it's no surprise this was the reaction to the news of 19-year-od Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody.


ROMANS: Relieved Bostonians poured into the streets, chanting the name of their beloved city, waving American flags, a harrowing ordeal that began with Monday's deadly bombing attack ending with this shoot-out last night.


BERMAN: Police are not saying right now whether Dzhokhar was not in last night's gun shoot-out, but we know he was first wounded in the Thursday night shoot-out with police that killed his brother.

ROMANS: This image from CBS News shows the bloody teen on a boat where he likely had been hiding for hours. The boat's owner says he saw smeared blood, he pulled back a tarp, a tarp that clearly the hook on the tarp had been cut, and the suspect was lying there and was weak from blood loss, but he still refused to surrender until the last volley of gunfire.

BERMAN: So many people, so many facets to this investigation. The dramatic end to the manhunt exploded across social media. And this photo has been passed around a lot. An intelligent source close to the Boston investigation confirmed that it was taken immediately after Tsarnaev was arrested.

ROMANS: And this image from CNN affiliate WMUR shows that in the back of an ambulance being taken to the hospital. He remains in the hospital this morning in serious condition.

BERMAN: The FBI was quick to announce the dramatic conclusion shortly after the arrest, and on the Web site updated the wanted posting with the words "captured".

ROMANS: And this image posted on the White House's Flickr page shows President Obama being briefed on the arrest by an aide for Homeland Security Department. Shortly after, the president addressed the nation.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation is in debt to the people of Boston and people of Massachusetts. After a vicious attack on their city, Bostonians responded with resolve and determination. They did their part as citizens and partners in this investigation.

Boston police and state police and local police across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts responded with professionalism and bravery over five long days. And tonight, because of their determined efforts, we've closed an important chapter in this tragedy.


BERMAN: We are covering all angles of this developing story.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is in Watertown to walk us through the 24 hours leading up to his arrest, and our Pamela Brown is outside the hospital where the teen suspect right now is under heavy, heavy guard.

Pamela, we have been told the suspect lost a lot of blood. What do we know about his condition right now?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities are saying that he is in serious condition. We don't know the exact extent of his injuries or where they are, but authorities are saying that he was weakened from a substantial amount of blood loss when he was discovered yesterday.

Now, let's take a look at this picture. This is from CBS News, and it shows Dzhokhar on the boat in the back of a home in Watertown. A resident first discovered him after noticing the boat had a blood stain on it, that resident pulled up the tarp and found Dzhokhar curled up and losing blood.

So, there are indications that he was first wounded in the shootout with police in Watertown early Friday morning. There was another gunfight at the boat after authorities there. So, there's a possibility that he was injured again during the shootout.

But as far as we know right now, he is in serious condition. The FBI is in charge of handling all media request and we are hoping for an update soon.

ROMANS: So, Pamela, what kind of security are you seeing at the hospital right now? BROWN: Well, there has been a steady presence of security here at the hospital every since he arrived here last night. You can see behind me here, there are several officers outside the hospital. In fact, there are more here than earlier when we arrived, and there's also -- we have seen several officers inside the hospital.

So, there is a large presence, and we are assuming there are more where his hospital room is as well.

So they are taking security very seriously here.

ROMANS: All right. Pam Brown -- thanks, Pam. We'll check in with you again soon.

CNN's Poppy Harlow joins us from Watertown. Poppy, we are hearing about this dramatic capture in a man's backyard, his winterized boat, he noticed the tarp was flapping after the shelter in place order had been lifted. He went out to get some fresh air.

Tell us about the discovery of the suspect.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank goodness for the man who lives not far from here, Christine. Dave Henneberry, that's his name.

As you said, he and his family holed up in their house here all day, very tense and nervous as the manhunt was going on for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and then the lock in order lifted, he goes outside, gets a breath of fresh air, and he noticed something. The boat he had tightly winterized in his backyard, where he strapped down the tarp so tough it had not moved throughout winter, throughout the blizzards, was flapping in the wind. And that struck his attention. How could this be?

So, he walks up and notices one of the retention straps had actually been cut, and then he sees a little something that looks like blood. So his stepson told her our Piers Morgan last night after the capture, that his stepfather actually put his head under the tarp and saw a pool of blood, and he thought manhunt, pool of blood, and this is not right. And he called 911 immediately, and it was really instant that the police showed up. They fired rounds and rounds in the backyard after the Henneberry's home after they were safely evacuated from the house.

And also, Dave Hennebery he saw something crumbled up inside that boat. We all know what that something was. Minutes later, the capture. They whisked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev away in a police car, and then this. Listen.


COL. TIM ALBEN, MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: We are so grateful to be here right now. We are so grateful to bring justice and closure to this case. To those families that lost loved ones or suffered injuries that they'll live with the rest of their lives, for a police officer, a young man starting a career at MIT and a police officer with MBTA who almost lost his life, and from neighborhoods that lived in fear for an entire day, we are eternally grateful for the outcome here tonight.

We have a suspect in custody.


HARLOW: And that is when cheers erupted on the streets of Boston. Here in Watertown, I ran into a group of about 400 college students flooding the streets and chanting things like "USA, USA," and this is Boston elated after the 24-hour basic lockdown of this city and the week of terror was over.

I do want to mention, and this is so important when you look at the scenes and you see the jubilation, guys, this city has not recovered. They have a long way to go. At this hour 58 people still hospitalized from injuries from the horrific attack, three in critical condition, two children. And we have four lives lost in all of this, 8-year-old Martin Richard, the Chinese exchange student, Lingzi Lu, and Krystle Campbell, that 29-year-old woman, and, of course, Sean Collier, the officer who was gunned down.

So, jubilation indeed, but a lot of pain still in Boston.

ROMANS: Yes, Poppy Harlow, thanks so much, Poppy, for us this morning in Watertown.

So many questions. Motive? Was there anybody that may have helped them? Why did they shoot that police officer? All these questions still remain to be answered.

The oldest brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's in-laws and wife are asking the public to please respect their privacy at this time. And as we know, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the bombing suspect that was killed Friday morning in a shoot-out with police.

A statement issued outside the family's North King's Town, Rhode Island, home yesterday, reads, quote, "Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child. We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriots' Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he inflicted. Please respect our family's privacy at this difficult time."

BERMAN: Of course, there are still, as Christine said, so many questions.

But we are starting to get a clearer picture of who the suspects were and what they were doing before they began the reign of terror.


RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: The city of Boston and the city of Cambridge and Watertown and many other communities can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that two perpetrators who caused so many pain and anguish are no longer a threat to our personal safety and to our communities. BERMAN (voice-over): And with that, the unprecedented statewide manhunt was over. The teen the FBI described as suspect number two in custody.

Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found inside a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts. After his arrest, Watertown residents filled the streets cheering on the hundreds of law enforcement officials who successfully tracked him down.

The suspect's brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed earlier after a gunfight with police. He left behind dreams of becoming a world-class boxer, and we found a YouTube page in his name linked to Islamic websites. And then Tamerlan Tsarnaev was quoted as saying, "I don't have a single American friend. I don't understand them."

He and his brother are from the Russian caucuses, an area that includes the war-torn regions of Chechnya and Dagestan. Authorities say the younger brother came here first, becoming a U.S. citizen on September 11th of last year. Tamerlan followed and got a green card.

Dzhokhar attended high school in Cambridge, outside Boston, where he won a scholarship before enrolling at the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts. Friends and teachers we talked to say they never saw any signs of trouble.

DEANA BEAULIEU, H.S. FIREND OF DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV: Regular teenager. We didn't suspect anything. He was on the wrestling team. He went to parties with other students. Yes. He went to the prom.

LARRY AARONSON, TEACHER KNEW DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV: He was a wonderful kid. We were proud of him. He was an outstanding athlete. He was -- there is nothing -- you know, he was never a troublemaker in the school.

BERMAN: Interviewed on Friday, their father insisted his sons are innocent.

ANZOR TSARNAEV, SUSPECT'S FATHER (through translator): Somebody framed them, and I don't know who did it but somebody did, and being cowards, they shot the boy dead, there are cops like this.

BERMAN: But their uncle in Maryland says the brothers were, quote, "losers".

RUSLAN TSAMI, BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECTS' UNCLE: Being losers, and hatred to those who were able to settle themselves. I cannot imagine anything else, anything else but religion with Islam. It's a fraud.

BERMAN: Meanwhile back in Boston, the city is relieved the nightmare is over.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's a night where I think we're all going to rest easy.

BERMAN: And President Obama offered his congratulations echoing the spirit of a relieved community.

OBAMA: Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they have already failed. They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated.


BERMAN: What an odyssey it has been from Monday until now.

ROMANS: I know, it really has. I know, here we are in Boston all morning. We're going to be searching for answers and asking questions. This is still a developing story.

BERMAN: Who were these two young men to adopt America as their home, only to allegedly turn on it?

ROMANS: Perhaps the answer lies in Dagestan. We're going to have a live report from there, straight ahead.



DESLAURIERS: Today, the city of Boston, the city of Cambridge and the city of Watertown, and many other communities, can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that two perpetrators that caused so much pain and anguish are no longer a threat to our safety and to our communities.


ROMANS: That relief is not shared by the suspect's parents.

BERMAN: Excuse me. This morning, they are coming to terms with their grief and anguish and they appear to be in denial about what their sons may have done.

ROMANS: Both men went to the school in a capital of Dagestan. It's a Russian republic bordering Chechnya.

Nick Paton Walsh is there now. In fact, he's standing outside the home of the suspects' father.

Nick, are you hearing anything new from the family this morning?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have heard nothing from the family. I should excuse the background noise.

But this street was where the deceased bomber now, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spent months here last summer assisting his father, Anzor, who lives behind me here, and they did work refurbishing apartment buildings. A real sense though here of disbelief amongst locals, considering the whole family, pillars of the community, in complete shock -- Christine.

ROMANS: You know, there has much reaction to the bombing here. But what is the reaction in Dagestan? WALSH: Well, here, certainly people are trying to piece together how long they spent here. Russian officials saying the sisters and the younger brother who are in custody now were only here five months. And the records we have seen shown they were registered as turning up from Kyrgyzstan, another former Soviet Republican, arriving here, going to school for five months, and then in 25th of March 2002, going directly to United States. That kind of (INAUDIBLE) Dzhokhar who's arrested last night, but it doesn't for Tamerlan, the older one, who's now believed to be deceased in the Boston attacks.

It's not clear when he arrived in the U.S., but he did get a green card in 2006. That gives us a five-year window potentially. We don't know where he was. He may have continued to be in Russia and he would have been here at a time of extremism seething across the region, the fallout from the second Chechen war ending in 2000, a time in which radicals were getting a grip on this impoverished part of the world -- Christine.

BERMAN: Nick, I know it's hard to generalized, but what are the general opinions there of the United States?

WALSH: Well, I think broadly across Russia, sort of a nationalistic taking back to the cold war feeling a slight resemblance of not wanting to embrace them in their daily lives. But certainly, the radicals fringe elements of I was just talking about amongst the militants that became part of the Chechen, across this region, there's jihadi rhetoric, a strong anti-American sentiment. They have threatened to attack the U.S., of course, but always chosen targets closer to home, namely Moscow, who they blamed for two brutal wars against the Chechen republic, trying to check its own independence.

So, while you wouldn't describe this part of the world where anti- America is not prevalent, it certainly not a place which embraces American values immediately -- John.

ROMANS: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Dagestan this morning -- thank you.

BERMAN: Friends and family of the bombing suspects giving descriptions of the brothers that will likely surprise you. You're going to hear from one of them that says he never stood out. That's coming up next.


BERMAN: San Francisco Giants paying tribute to the victims to the Boston marathon tragedy. This message, together we're Boston appeared on the JumboTron scoreboard during the team's game against the San Diego Padres last night, keeping Boston in their thoughts.

All right. We want to tell you more now about the victims who's their lives cut short in the tragedy. Martin Richard, he was waiting for his father to cross the finish line in Boston marathon when the explosion took his life. His sister and mother were badly injured.

In a statement, the family thanked police for capturing the suspects. Also killed in Monday's attack, Krystle Campbell, the young woman who went to marathon every year to cheer on the runners, Lingzi Lu, young woman from China was the bombing third victim, the graduate student in Boston University, who's fulfilling her dream of coming to the U.S. to further her education.

Two bombs exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line in Monday's race, triggering a five-day nightmare here in Boston, at least 58 people are still hospitalized.

MIT University police officer Sean Collier was the fourth person to die, allegedly killed by the brothers who was fatally shot while in his car on late Thursday night. Charismatic friendly, private, protective -- just a few ways people are describing the Tsarnaev brothers.

It certainly how Luis Vasquez remembers them. He's joining us this morning.

Thanks for being here.

First of all, what's your reaction to the younger brother, his capture last night? You're relieved, you tell me that he was captured alive, because you still have so many questions.

LUIS VASQUEZ, FRIEND OF BOMBING SUSPECTS: I am, I am. And I think for the sake of everybody out here, the sake of the families, and everybody affected by the tragedy, we need questions answered. He is the one to do it. He is.

He has incredible insight and this being because I feel like -- and I don't want to make assumptions, but I feel like he was the follower in the situation, and he came out alive because he was scared. That's just my assumption. I am not speaking for everybody. We needed him to come alive so he can answer questions. We deserved that, at the very least.

ROMANS: A follower, suspected killer, a suspected terrorists, a suspected murderer. You knew his brother, his older brother best. He's closer in age to you. You know him from school. Tell me about his older brother, how you knew him.

VASQUEZ: I knew him just as a high school friend. The connection there was that his sister, Bella, was friends with my wife. And since he was always protective of little sister, he'd always be around. And that's how we got to know each together and we just kind of hit it off and had lunch and would chitchat, and after high school, we would see each other. And he would catch me up with his boxing inspirations, going to tournaments, how he would be doing, he would mentor my cousin, David. He's very open to him and friendly and embraced that role.

My question is what happened in the past year or two to make him flip a switch into evil? I will never understand that.

ROMANS: When was the last time you spoke to either of them?

VASQUEZ: I want to say two years ago -- two, three years ago. Something happened.

ROMANS: So, something -- a lot of other people that we've talked as well said -- they talked about how charismatic the younger brother was, or how reserved the older brother was, and it has been a couple years since you spoke to them. You think something happened?

VASQUEZ: Something happened because the crime doesn't fit the memory.

ROMANS: Tell me more about the younger brother. You actually coached him, Dzhokhar, you coached him in soccer.

VASQUEZ: I coached him in soccer for a season, at the high school. It's actually where I played. So, that's a great pride in going back and helping out. And nothing -- nothing stood out to me. There was nothing out of the ordinary.

ROMANS: He had every advantage.

VASQUEZ: Every advantage, completely right.

ROMANS: He had a scholarship and liked by his friends and teachers liked him and coaches liked him, and it's not as if you look at this kid and his background, where there was a hardship that could have turned his heart hard.

I mean, what kind of guy was he?

VASQUEZ: I can't see anything that turned him into a person that he is being scene as and what he did. This is what leads me to believe that he was a follower, and somewhere down the line, he was brainwashed by somebody who was also probably brainwashed, from whatever trip they may have taken to another country, just assuming right there, and hopefully we get to the bottom of it, which is incredible that we got him alive. He can answer this question.

ROMANS: It's really almost a contradiction, because he was also -- he was the captain of his wrestling squad, because his friends, for a while there, saw leadership in this young man, but you think he was a follower who followed his brother down this evil path?

VASQUEZ: Exactly. That's what we preach in Cambridge, where I'm from, leadership. We want you to be leader, we want you to be create opportunities for yourself and follow them. He got a scholarship out of it. And I don't know where it went wrong.

ROMANS: What is the sense of your community of alums?

VASQUEZ: Excuse me?

ROMANS: What is the sense of your community of alums? The people who all graduated --

VASQUEZ: Everybody is shocked. Everybody is shocked. I think I speak for a lot of people there. Everybody is shocked, because this is not -- these are not the people that we knew. These people are -- were friendly. They cared about life. They had a respectful life at one point and, clearly, they don't know and they didn't lately.

ROMANS: Can I ask you? Especially, the brother completely assimilated into American teenage life? Would you say he was assimilated?


ROMANS: He came here when he was 8.

VASQUEZ: They both were.

ROMANS: They both were, the older brother, too?

VASQUEZ: They were both normal. That's the term being tossed around a lot for this, because they were normal but they were very different at the same time. Older brother was more serious, he had more of a demeanor that was calm.

But he was approachable. If you go up to him he would speak to you, he would say, hello, how are you? He would smile. He's a big friendly giant. He's the big friendly giant. The little brother was a little more outgoing.

ROMANS: All right. Luis Vasquez, nice to meet you today -- thank you.

VASQUEZ: I appreciate it.

ROMANS: Thank you so much for your reminiscence and your thoughts and people try to connect the dots into what turned these young men into suspected terrorists.

Up next, getting answers from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- the delicate process of questioning the suspect once he gets out of the hospital.


BERMAN: It's the bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Berman, live in Boston this morning. And this morning, there is elation and relief.

It was an emotional night. Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in a Boston hospital this morning, under heavy guard.

This image from CBS News shows him bloody, on a boat, in a backyard in Watertown. He was captured last night after a dramatic gunfight with police. It was this tweet that confirmed what residents had been hoping for since Monday's bombing that read, "Suspect in custody." The FBI was also quick to announce the dramatic inclusion, adding the word "captured" to its wanted poster.

But just because the suspect is in custody it does by any means that this drama is order. Authorities have now decided how to handle him, at least for now, knowing decisions they make could impact how he is prosecuted later.

For more now, we are joined by Jim Walsh. He's an expert in international security and a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jim, first of all, you live in Watertown. You have been going through this for the last few days. What has that been like?

JIM WALSH, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Surreal, you know. Yesterday, I wake up to the sounds of helicopters over my house. I look out from my front porch. I can see police officers who closed off streets.

I try to make it to my television studio, Pics Mix (ph), which is in Watertown, and so driving there and negotiating with police to get there, and dozens of police officers going house to house, you know, obviously even before that learning the previous evening that a fellow employee at MIT, a police officer, had been assassinated.

My children know -- had friends who are friends with the suspects.

WALSH: So, this is really, in a bizarre way, a very local story for me.

BERMAN: It has been a crazy story. And a week for a lot of people in this area.

Let's talk about the case itself. The authorities decided not to read the suspect his Miranda warnings. Not give him his Miranda rights. What advantage does that give them now?

WALSH: Well, Jeffry Toobin was discussing last night, he is still entitled to his Miranda rights.

What it means, though, that any information from him before giving that warning cannot be used in court against him. But they probably have a ton of data already. They probably don't need a confession, they don't need questions that lead to evidence for the prosecution, because they have the video evidence and they have forensic evidence, and I am sure they have DNA evidence now because there has been blood and a fight.

So they are more interested in trying to get information for him to identify whether there are any more accomplices or any relationships to foreigners or others in the United States --

BERMAN: Is there anybody else out there?

WALSH: Exactly. That's job one. And, secondly, just try to figure out what happened here. So, in some ways, the information gathering they are doing now is totally separate from the case they will be making in court.

BERMAN: They are trying to piece together not just the last few days but in some cases the last year, or more than a last year, and one of the questions is the older brother went back to Russia for six months. What was he doing there?

And then, of course, there's word that the FBI actually questioned the older brother at the request of a foreign government. So the FBI had contact with one of the men now suspected of setting off these bombs at the Boston marathon. Did they miss something?

WALSH: Well, John, it's a tough question. I mean, obviously, at some level, the answer is yes, right? Because they talk to him and later he becomes a terrorist in a terrorists attack. But I think we should move a little slowly on that. Believe me, there's going to be an assessment and they're going to walk through what they did right and what they did wrong, from the federal government, all the way down to the Watertown police.

But, remember, the federal government, the FBI, interviews lots of people. They want a wide circle, so that they can -- that's going to include a lot of people that aren't criminals are not going to be prosecuted.

The other thing if he did not say anything actionable in those interviews, then there's not really a lot they can do other than keep him under surveillance.

BERMAN: They talked to him at the request of a foreign government. I don't know exactly -- we don't know exactly why. But what types of reasons might a foreign government have for asking the FBI to talk to this man?

WALSH: Well, and again, this is all in the area of speculation. I have to underline that. But imagine if his motivation has to do with the caucuses and ties to Chechens and that sort of things. Well, obviously, Russia fought a bloody civil war against Chechen rebels, he visited Russia and it maybe that under those circumstances he may have drew the attention of the foreign government.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Walsh, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate it.

WALSH: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So, of course, there's a lot of other news going on in the world, if you can believe it. Fourteen people dead, 16 others missing. We're going to go to West, Texas, for the latest on the massive explosion that leveled parts of that small town.



MAYOR TOMMY MUSKA, WEST, TEXAS: Devastating. I have been a member of the fire department for 26 years. These guys were my friends. One of them was my city secretary. He had access to our Facebook page that we can't get into because that was his little job, and I talked to him every day. Now he is not here. It's devastating. And that's -- that's all I can say about it.


BERMAN: That was the mayor of West, Texas. Tommy Muska talking about the volunteer firefighters killed this week in the huge fertilizer plant fire and explosion. ROMANS: Blast so powerful, it registered as 2.1 magnitude seismic event and completely leveled parts of the small town and 14 people lost their lives, another 200 were injured.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live in West, Texas, for us.

Martin, there are still who are unaccounted for. Thankfully, not as many as reported earlier, some 60 then but now only a handful. But how likely is it they will find those people alive?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not too likely now, Christine. Good morning to you.

The fact is, that the authorities have deemed that this is no longer a search and rescue mission, it is search and recovery mission, and that's a clear indication if they do find anyone, they don't anticipate it would be alive.

As you pointed, the number of missing has been reduced significantly. Yesterday, they talked about 60 unaccounted for, and today they said it's about a handful, and they have about one other building that needs to be searched. The problem and the reason it has been slow, the devastation is so extensive, and before teams can go in to look for anyone who's live or dead, they have to make sure the building is not going to collapse on them. They have to make sure they're structurally sound.

So, they literally have to sort of rebuild the building before they can dig down there. They've got one last to go through the day. So it hope, as horrible as this sounds, that 14 may be the maximum of the death toll, but it's not for certain.

You should point out the vast majority of the death toll are the first responders, the five volunteer firefighters. There are EMS as well. There are other firefighters that did not work for this fire department. It is expected that the vast majority of those who went right away and helping to evacuate, and it's believed that the evacuation got a lot of people out of harm's way, and they bought time but they paid for it with their own lives.

And you already mention the 200 hospitalized, that number greatly reduced but still over a dozen, and those that are in the hospital are still in a very rough way -- Christine.

BERMAN: The pictures of the destruction, Martin, are still simply staggering right now. You see the structures just simply leveled. Where does the investigation stand into what caused the blast?

SAVIDGE: It's just beginning, John. And it's a question that everybody in the town has been asking. What was it that caused the blast that could be felt so far away, over 15 miles away? Of course, it was a fertilizer plant so there were a lot of chemicals at play, and some were gases, and all of them could have been highly toxic.

And there were concerns about the toxicity in the immediate aftermath of anhydrous ammonia. We're not assured by officials that nay threat from that is gone, it's dissipated, or that the tanks are intact. So, that is no longer a fear down there.

But as far as the cause, a lot of groups are investigating. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Also, you have the chemical industry that's investigating. So, separate channels all looking at it with great expertise, but it will take a long time to determine.

I should also point out that the company owner, he is a local man, he released a statement. There are a lot of statements that the companies in the aftermath have tried. This one, and I won't read it to you right now, we'll have it later, it's extremely heartfelt. You can tell that this man locally is heartbroken as is the community. One of his employees was also one of those firefighters, and he points out that this is something that will devastate this community for years, generations, he says, to come -- John.

ROMANS: Wow. Martin Savidge, thanks so much for your fine reporting there, Martin in that heartbroken town of West, Texas. Thanks.

Ahead, more on the Boston bombing the capture of the surviving suspect. Ahead, we're going to take you live to Moscow. Find out how the tragedy could critically reset U.S. relations with Russia.

BERMAN: And we're going to have the incredible story of an elite wheelchair racer who competed in Monday's Boston marathon. London is next, but Boston will be close to her heart.


ROMANS: As a result of Monday's bombing attack at the Boston marathon, as many as 13 people have had limbs amputated.

BERMAN: But a loss of an arm or leg certainly doesn't mean you have to give up on the activities you love in life.

ROMANS: We want to introduce you to a woman that ran in Monday's marathon and is preparing to run in Sunday's London marathon, all without the use of her legs.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin had this incredible story.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was her first Boston marathon, Tatyana McFadden had won. She placed in the women's wheelchair division.

TATYANA MCFADDEN, WHEELCHAIR RACER: My family was there, had tears in their eyes and joy and we celebrated a little bit at the finish line.

MCLAUGHLIN: Hours after she finished her race the bomber struck.

MCFADDEN: We went into a lockdown, firefighters were running to our hotel make sure there was nothing at our hotel, going into all the bathrooms. We immediately moved to the lobby.

MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): It must have been terrifying. MCFADDEN: Yes, it was chaos.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Tatyana is no stranger to tragedy. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, with a hole in her spine, a condition known as spina bifida. Disabled and unwanted, she was sent to live in an orphanage.

MCFADDEN: I walked on my hands in the orphanage, no wheelchair. I just hung on to life and I had a lot of hope.

MCLAUGHLIN: Hope arrived when her new adopted mother, working in Russia for the U.S. Health Department, took notice of the sickly little girl. MCFADDEN: I know when my mom walked through that door, I knew she was going to be my mom and life definitely changed for me.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tatyana was brought to the United States.

MCFADDEN: To even sit like this, the doctors thought I had minimum time to live and I was just so sick.

MCLAUGHLIN: She played sports to help her recovery and Tatyana thrived in the athletic world.

Now an elite wheelchair racer, she hopes her story will inspire others.

(on camera): Many of the victims of the bombing blast lost limbs, the road to recovery likely to be a long and arduous process. What advice would you give them?

MCFADDEN: It's not going to be easy for sure. But we can just live a normal life, like everyone else can, you know? Even if we're in wheelchair, if you're wearing prosthetics.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Less than a week after the tragedy, Tatyana is in London to race in this city's marathon. Now, more resolve than ever.

MCFADDEN: So, I'm really looking forward to racing on Sunday and it's going to be a tough race. It's a very flat course, so it's going to be a very tight finish and on Sunday I'll be racing for those in Boston and it's really carrying them in my heart.

MCLAUGHLIN: Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


BERMAN: Such a nice story. I'm struck by the words the president had in the prayer service here on Thursday when he told the victims of the bombing, those who have been injured, when he said, you will race again.

There's been a lot of reaction around the world for the Boston marathon bombing, of course, and the capture of the brothers believed to be responsible for this terrible tragedy. ROMANS: That's right. The brothers are originally from volatile Russian caucuses region. And they came to the U.S. about a decade ago.

CNN's Phil Black joins us now from Moscow.

Phil, tell us a little bit more about the reaction in Russia to all of this.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Christine, good morning. At a time when U.S./Russian relations are very poor. This event could bring the countries closer together in at least one way.

Russia's president Vladimir Putin has phoned Barack Obama to again offer condolences and also to pledge and commit to greater support, greater coordination in dealing with the threat of international terrorism. This is something that Russia has been pushing for, arguing for, for a long time now, and the U.S. president is said to have returned that commitment -- John, Christine.

BERMAN: As you said this really puts the tensions between Russia and Chechnya into the spotlight. I mean, will this have larger implications in that tension?

BLACK: Well, this is the important context here. Russia has been fighting wars and counterinsurgency operations in Chechnya and the surrounding region for almost 20 years now, against militants that have become increasingly Islamists in their intentions and those same militants and terrorists from that region have also launched devastating attacks here in Moscow and other parts of Russia as well. Russia has always argued its efforts to put down these militants should be viewed within the same context as the global war on terrorism.

But Russia has always felt it hasn't got the sympathy it deserves in trying to deal with this threat, that's largely because the international community has been concerned about human rights abuses by Russian forces in that territory. But we don't know the precise words that were spoken between the two presidents in that telephone conversation but I suspect this was probably very much a theme.

Russian officials have been saying in response to all of this, we've been saying this for a long time now, terrorism is terrorism. You can't differentiate depending upon where it originates from. It is a threat to all of us. And as a result, all countries need to cooperate more closely.

ROMANS: All right. Phil Black for us in Moscow this morning -- thank you, Phil.

BERMAN: All right. So some record rainfall causing a big mess in the Midwest. We're going to have an extended update on the forecast, just ahead.


BERMAN: Standing by.

ROMANS: Floodwaters have thousands to evacuate their homes around Illinois.

BERMAN: Let's check in now with meteorologist Alexandra Steele in Atlanta to see when that area might dry out -- Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi. Good morning to you, guys.

You know, here's what we're looking at. It's really the Upper Midwest and flash flooding isn't the concern, it's this river flooding we're seeing and what we're going to see is these rivers really peak at historic levels from north to south, is that cascading effect as all that water goes downstream.

This is showing you where all the flood warnings are, meaning we're seeing flooding now or flooding is eminent.

All right. So, it's really Illinois, Indiana and lower Michigan the biggest concerns. We've seen homes evacuated, shelters open, roads have closed in Chicago. The Edens, Kennedy, all the expressways were closed early yesterday because of flooding. They had about five to seven inches of rain in a very short period of time. The Des Plaines River, that's the one in Chicago, major flood stage there, historic for some of these places.

The Illinois River, that's the tributary of the Mississippi. Historic crest expected Monday night into Tuesday and the Illinois River Peoria is the biggest concern, the Mississippi River between the Quad Cities and St. Louis the biggest thread, maybe the third worst flooding we've seen. And how ironic is it Mississippi last spring, we had such drought conditions and now we have such flooding and the problem, John and Christine, we have more rain coming this way on Tuesday. So that's where the biggest problems will be right around that same area.

BERMAN: All right. Alexandra Steele for us in the weather center, thank you so much. Thank you all for starting your morning with us.

ROMANS: That's right. We've got a lot more news, much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING which starts right now.