Return to Transcripts main page


Iraq and Afghanistan Were Motivating Factors of Boston Bombers; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Be Moved to a Jail Prison; Tamerlan Tsarnaev Purchased Pyrotechnic Material in New Hampshire; Public Defenders Building a Case to Keep Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Off Death Row; Secretary of Homeland Security Acknowledges Knowledge of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Travel to Russia; David Henneberry Who Found the Boston Bomber Reveals the True Story

Aired April 23, 2013 - 23:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN: "Out Front" next. The latest on the Boston terror attack. What did Dzokhar Tsarnaev tell investigators about the roots of the plan? Thus, it's the first time we hear from the homeowner who went out to check on his boat and discovered the man of the heart of the international manhunt unlike anything foreseen in this country.

And, blown away, imagine shrapnel hitting your body before you even hear the blast. Dr. Sanjay Gupta on why some near the bomb survived, others did not. We're live, let's go out front.


BURNETT: And, good evening. I'm Erin Burnett, "Out Front" tonight. Developing story, the Boston bombing suspect tells investigators that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were motivating factors behind the attacks. Drew Griffin is live tonight in Boston. And, Drew what more have you learned about what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators? Because you know even though he isn't really speaking much, they have been able to communicate quite a bit in his preliminary interviews.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It seems like we're getting more information about the same bunch of interviews, Erin. The time before he had charges actually filed against him. A government source telling CNN that in those communicative moments that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also mentioned that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were motivating whereas for his brother, reiterating that they again were self radicalized; that they somehow taught themselves how to do all these stuff and that it was the older brother, who was more or less the ring leader in all of this.

But, I must caution you, that the investigators really need to check out what this is. Who knows what kind of state this kids mind is in, with the medical condition he is under. And, quite frankly, if he is even telling them the truth about anything, there's a lot of work to be done. But, a government source now for the first time telling CNN that this kid laying in a hospital bed is mentioning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as some kind of motivation for what they did or allegedly here in Boston last Monday.

BURNETT: Drew, you know, just a day ago, we weren't even sure as to his conditions. Some people are speculating, is he going to make it not? And, then his condition was upgraded and now I guess we're hearing he might be moved from the hospital, right? Do you know when? Why?

GRIFFIN: Right. It seems like he is upgraded. He's in fair condition now according to the hospital, which released that information with the approval of the FBI. So, now, you know, he is at Beth Israel, the other families of the actual victims of this bombing want him out. That's the why. The question is when will it happen?

It would need to happen when he's stable enough to actually move. And, if he does improve enough, there are -- there's an MCI Plymouth, which is just kind of like -- it's a jail prison that they also have medical treatment available for. That's not uncommon in prisons to have a medical wing.

They would possibly take him there to wait all the court appearances he continuous to improve. The why is, the families just want him out. They don't want this guy in the same hospital as their loved ones who are lying there, basically because of this guy according to the police.

BURNETT: Yes. You know, I was just thinking about that because so many of them -- you know that they were at the same hospital. Drew, there was one thing about all of this that has, you know, there's a lot of things that we still don't have answers to. But, one of them is exactly what happened Thursday night.

You know, you and I were standing live on CNN when there was a shooting at MIT. And, we have no idea whether there was related UN over there. Then there was that carjacking. And, it's still so sketchy, the details, but I know you found a little bit more on how it all pieces together.

GRIFFIN: Yes. We at least know now that the carjacking took place when the older brother carjacked that black SUV. That was the car -- that was the main car used in that whole horrific chase in press. There were actually two cars involved, but Tamerlan is the one who carjacked the car. His little brother was nearby, we're told by a source in the investigation.

So, that's how it played out. But, boy, you are right, Erin, what a crazy night. And, it's taken this long. I think it's really taken this long for the police to figure it all out because it was so much crazy stuff going on that night. It was hard to keep track of the events.

BURNETT: It sure was. It was just impossible to believe that that was a real life. Well, Drew Griffin, thanks very much reporting live for us from Boston tonight. We are also learning more now about where and how the Tsarnaev brothers may have gotten some of the explosives that they used in the bombings. This has been another huge question mark out there. Brian Todd has been investigating and he is following that lead tonight for us in Boston.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, CNN is told tonight that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, at one point, purchased a fairly large cachet of fireworks, pyrotechnic material. William Weimer, the vice president of the company called Phantom Fireworks tells CNN that Tamerlan Tsarnaev purchase two reloadable motor kits with a total of 48 shells from Phantom Fireworks' store in Seabrook, New Hampshire. That is about an hour North West of Boston.

William Weimer says that this purchase took place on February 6th. He stressed that at the time, it was not out of the ordinary. A little bit more detail on the purchase, he says Tamerlan Tsarnaev asked the clerk what is the loudest and biggest thing you have. He paid about $200 in this purchase. And, again, the purchase was two reloadable mortar kits with about 48 shells. Now, some context here, a law enforcement official tell CNN that none of that is enough to set off explosions of the size and calibre that occurred at the Boston Marathon -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thanks to you, Brian. And investigators in the Boston bombing case are also now revisiting something that goes back to 2011, September. An unsolved crime, one of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's closest friends, a man named Brendan Mess and two other people were brutally killed. This was a brutal murder. Throats were slit from end to end. Deb Feyerick is on the story. And, Deb what does this case have to do with the Boston attacks?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it seems a vengeance that are investigating the marathon are now taking a closer look at this triple murder that happened in Waltham, Massachusetts back in September 2011. Initially, police thought that it was drug-related.

But, the reason it is back on the radar is because one of the victims, Brendan Mess was a close friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The two men were described as very close. They used to spar together. They often showed up at a mixed martial arts center in Boston.

Well, Brendan Mess was killed back in September 2011 and this was a triple homicide and it was a grizzly triple homicide. Investigators at the time say that the heads of each of the victims was pulled back and their throats were slit from ear to ear. Not only that, the reason they thought it was drug-related because marijuana was spread all over the bodies of the victims.

And, a source we spoke to says that that was really a symbolic gesture, whatever that means. And, we're also told that there was a lot of cash. The cash was left behind at the apartment. So, we're learning that, apparently, the district attorney at the time, really believed that the victims knew who their killers were. And, that's killers, not singular bit plural.

And, the reason they believe is -- think about it Brendan Mess was an expert in mixed martial arts. He potentially could have fight back against his attackers, but the crime itself was just so brutal, so grizzly, that many of the police at the time just couldn't understand want had triggered it.

The reason they're looking at Tamerlan Tsarnaev with a connection there is because investigators believe that he was the last one or the last people, who actually saw Brendan Mess alive about three months after that murder. Tsarnaev went to Russia where he spent the next six months. He was never questioned, by all accounts, by any police who were originally investigating that case. Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Deb. And, obviously, now, an open case. Well, now, what happened during the six months that that just referenced to six months of Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent in Russia.

It could be crucial to finding out why these brothers allegedly committed these crimes. Nic Robertson is live tonight in Dagestan of all other region. It's known for radical Islamic insurgents. It is also the place where the Tsarnaev brothers and parents live.

And, Nic, you know, we do know Tamerlan returned from -- well, he returned from Russia to the United States. After that six months, he started doing something he hadn't done before, posting to his youtube channel, videos. One featuring an Islamic militant named Abu Dujana. What do you know about that video and to give us a sense of whether it could be an important link here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he took down the video sometime before the bombings took place, which is a kind of an indication he knew that it might be some kind of use to investigators or it might point a finger to some of the details about what he had bee doing here or the connections he had made.

Abu Dujana is a sort of a young local Jihadist leader here. He's dead now, killed by Russian security forces. But, he's not the kind of guy -- he's not the kind of sort of big-name, jihadist leader that, you know, a lot of young, want-to-be Jihadist will post videos of.

So, it's kind of interesting that Tamerlan chooses that video of this man to post after his visit here. This is a relatively small area. Could he have met with Abu Dujana? Could he have met with some of \his supporters? It's really quite a serious possibility, Erin.

BURNETT: Now, Nic, would it have been easy -- I mean this is everyone is asking this question as to whether he could have done some sort of training while he was there. Would it have been easy for Tamerlan to learn how to make these kinds of bombs and devices while he was in Dagestan?

ROBERTSON: There's an incredible amount of expertise among the sort of Jihadist and rebels here for making bombs, gun attacks. Just a couple of days ago, there was an attack on the head of the police here. He survived last week.

There was a bombing attack on the police. One was killed, three were injured. And, week before, another policeman, a bomb placed under him -- placed under his car that he and his family were in. They all survived. The week before that, another attack on the police where several of them were killed.

So there's plenty of sort of rebel expertise here in bomb-making. So, if he -- if -- we don't know this yet. If he was here looking to get that expertise, you know, bombs were going off not far from where he was living. It couldn't have been that hard to get himself, given the circles he's believed to be moving in, getting a hold of that kind of training, that kind of information from people here. We've got a lot of experience, Erin.

BURNETT: Obviously, a crucial link there. Nic Robertson reporting live from Dagestan with that. And, still "Out Front" a hearing on whether clues were missed by the FBI, years before the bombing took place. Plus, investigators are talking to the attorneys of Tamerlan's American wife. Why are they talking to her directly? And, the man who went out to look at his boat right after the lockdown was relaxed and found a man at the center of a nationwide man hunt. A moment of discovery in his own words.


BURNETT: All right, this just in, I wanted to share this with you from the Boston police department just this moment saying that as of 3:00 a.m. in just over three and a half hours from now, Eastern Time, Boylston Street will reopen. That's where the attacks happened.

They're not permitting parking in or near the affected areas. But, this is part of the process as Boston is trying slowly to recover, to have life go back to normal even though for so many it is changed forever, and for that city changed forever. But, it will be in about three and a half hours, the epicentre of this whole horrible tragedy will be open again for Bostonians.

Well, the FBI is facing tough questions about whether federal agents missed critical clues during their investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev even after Russia raised a red flag about his radical Islamic views two years ago speaking before the senate judiciary committee. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged that the government actually was aware of Tamerlan's trip to Dagestan last year after the Russians warned them. Dagestan is a volatile region.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLY, (R) RANKING MEMBER JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Was your department aware of his travels to Russia and if you weren't, the reason?

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The travel in 2012 that you're referring to. Yes, the system pinged when he was living the United States. By the time he returned, all investigations had been -- the matter had been closed.


BURNETT: Did the agency drop the ball? The question keeps building. Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is "Out Front" tonight. Good to see you, sir. Now, you know --


BURNETT: As you know, the FBI says it looked into Tamerlan before that recent trip to Russia at the behest of the Russians and found nothing derogatory. But, according to some reports, Russia didn't stop there. And, again, as recently as November of last year, Russia's secret service alerting the FBI about Tamerlan's having alleged contact with the suspected militant. Now, the Wall Street Journal says the FBI disputes this. They said, "Look, we didn't get an alert." But, I asked you, what do you know about whether Russia warned the United States again about Tsarnaev's extremist ties.

MCCAUL: Well, The FBI has told me that they were not warned again. But, let's look at the facts here. The FBI has denied they have any knowledge of his trip to Russia. They had a lead opened on this individual that they closed. And, now we have the secretary of homeland security testifying that they knew he left and travelled to Russia.

When you look at the original Russian intelligence wire, basically it indicates that this is a more of a dangerous person who may leave the United States and join underground extremist groups. So, the idea that when that flag went up, what was done with that information? The Department of Homeland Security was created afrer 9/11 to make sure we didn't have this happen again.

But, the dots would be connected, that people would communicate. And, the problem is DHS has this information and presumably the man on the JTTF CVT knows about this. And, the question that can't be answered right now, when asked the director, is did the FBI know about this. And, if he didn't know, why didn't he?

BURNETT: Right. And, after the visit to Russia, Tsarnaev -- we understand at this point, came home and posted a lot of videos, including one from a radical Muslim cleric called Feiz Mohammed. Did the FBI miss something or not by following up on that? I mean this is somebody that they do admit at this point have been on their radar. They had dismissed him, but then he's posting radical videos.

MCCAUL: Well, when you mention was a ball dropped, I think the idea that they didn't know about his Russian travel -- the idea that maybe DHS did not share that information with the FBI --


MCCAUL: After all we've been through after 9/11 and talking about connecting the dots. And, just maybe if they did know that, wouldn't they have reopened to that lead that they closed? Now, I was told that the case was closed. There's nothing derogatory. But, it seems to me if you know he's travelling back to Russia, after Russia has warned the FBI of his behaviour, it seems to me you could have reopened that lead and just may be this could have been prevented.

BURNETT: And, there's a lot of people asking that questions tonight, Chairman, you know. But, in the past, the FBI has interviewed, investigated other people who have gone onto successfully commit terrorism acts on U.S. soil. You know, interviewed Abdul Hakeem Mohammed. He is serving a life sentence for killing an army private at a recruiting station. Of course, they have also investigated army major Nidal Hasan, who is charged for killing 13 people at the horrible Fort Hood, Texas shooting.

I mean, this is -- this is a difficult question to ask. But, you know, they're investigating thousands of people. Is it acceptable or basically inevitable? Someone is going to fall through the cracks?

MCCAUL: Well, in fairness to them, and I know working with the JTDS in the past, they have thousands of leads coming in all of the time. But, as you mentioned, in our letter to the secretary, to the director of the FBI and to DNI Director Clapper, we raised the issue that you raised. Five individuals, key individuals, that were able to -- in most of the cases, successfully pull off a terrorist attack that really slipped through the cracks and off the radar. And, my job as the chairman of homeland security is to examine what happened, what possibly went wrong and how can I correct that in the future, which is why we intend to hold hearings on this issue.

BURNETT: And, a final question, sir, you know, the younger brother, Dzhokhar saying they acted alone. It's unclear at this point whether that just he's saying or whether it is actually true. You know, there are reports, the older brothers had met with extremists during that trip top Dagestan and there were a lot of other questions right now about how he became a radical. Do you think that they truly acted alone at this point?

MCCAUL: I find it difficult to believe. I also find the idea that there wasn't any foreign connection, difficult to believe when you how sophisticated these bombs were that they made. Most of the experts I've talked to indicate that there had to be some sort of trainer, who trained them in this and some training ground that they went to, to test these explosives.

And, whether that happened over in the Chechnya region or whether that happened in the Boston area, we don't know the answer to that. But, it is the job of the FBI and Homeland Security to cast a wide net to make sure that there's anybody else involved with this horrible bombing, that we catch them.

BURNETT: Chairman, good to talk to you again. We appreciate it. Tonight, the public defenders representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are building a case to keep their client off death row. Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, but how strong is the case against him.

"Out Front" tonight criminal defense attorney, Tamar Birckhead. She defended the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and also worked with one of the public defenders assigned to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Paul Callan also joins me, a legal analyst for us here at CNN. All right, I appreciate both of you taken the time.

Tamar, you know, from what we have seen the prosecution feels they have a slammed dunked case. They have a tree that he touched. They have video of this man putting the backpack with the bomb down. They think that they have a slammed dunk. Do you think the writer have holes in the case.

TAMAR BIRCKHEAD, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's really premature for them to come to that conclusion or for anyone to come to that conclusion. The evidence has to be examined closely. Yes, there is videotape. Yes there are reports that he has made certain statements, but all of that has t be examined by his attorneys and investigated.

BURNETT: Paul, would you go that fat after all he has essentially admitted to doing it? And I want to say with a very important cardiac before he was read his Miranda rights.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's no such thing as a slammed dunk in criminal law. Anything can go south on a case, but this is as close as you get. You've got videotape putting him at the scene. He will have a motive in terms of what he has had to say about hatred of the United States and his loyalty to radical causes. And, you have bomb fragments that are linked directly back to him. Plus, you have a guy in a car that admissions were made to. I mean, it goes on and on now. Could he beat the death penalty, may be that's the possibility, but I think they are going to put together a very strong case.

BURNETT: And, Tamar, what would you suggest what should the defense's strategy be? I mean you handled the case like this one, that seems to be insurmountable with Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. Obviously, now serving life but did not get the death penalty because of your defense. There are pictures and videos of these two as Paul has just alluded to. So, what kind of defense possibly do?

BIRCKHEAD: Well, they are going to focus on mitigation at this point, thinking about the possibility of the death penalty. They are going to be looking into his background. They are going to be having him evaluated potentially by, you know, forensic evaluation by psychologist. They are going to looking at his state of mind.

BURNETT: Paul, it seems that the defense may try to say that the younger brother Dzhokhar Tsanaev who is going to be taken to trial was under the influence of his older brother and used that as some sort of a way to mitigate his sense or to say - -yes, he was brainwashed. Is there any way that, that can hold weight?

CALLAN: Good luck with that defense. That's a hail mary defense and I tell you why. The younger brother, 19 years old is a student at the University of Massachusetts. He was a scholarship student, we've seen in early reports. The older brother on the other hand is a professional or quasi professional boxer whose brains were probably scrambled a bit as a result of, you know, the boxing career he had. So, if anybody influenced anybody else, I think you could argue the 19-year-old influenced the older brother. So, if they tried that defense against me, I think I've had some pretty strong answers to it.

BURNETT: All right, well thanks to you both. Well, David Hennenberry is the man who tipped off police to the whereabouts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And, tonight, he is speaking out.

At some point on Thursday night, Dzhokhar who was injured by gunshot wounds at least at this point we understand that it would be a gunshot wound. It could have been from the explosives. He found refuge in a boat parked in a backyard. That boat belonged to Henneberry, whose home remains a crime scene. He hasn't been allowed back in since he called. But, without his call, no one knows what would have happened when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would have been found.

In an exclusive and emotional interview with our affiliate WCB, Henneberry clears up how he stumbled upon one of the most wanted men in America.


DAVID HENNEBERRY, MAN WHO FOUND DZHOKHAR: I know people say, there was blood in the boat. He saw blood and went in.


HENNEBERRY: Not true. No.

HARDING: Now, the word is, you saw the boat. You pulled back the wrapping, you saw a body, get moved and you called 911?




HARDING: So you went to the garage and grab a step ladder.

HENNEBERRY: I went up three steps up the ladder, and I rolled it up and I can see through the shrink wrap. I didn't expect to see anything and I look in the boat over here. I look on the floor and I see blood and --

HARDING: A lot of blood?

HENNEBERRY: Good amount of blood. And, my eyes went to the other side of the engine box. The engine box is in the middle of the -- there was a body.

HARDING: And at that moment, what did you do? What were you thinking at that moment?


HARDING: He couldn't see suspect number two's face. He was glad he couldn't see his face.

HENNEBERRY: Well, I know I took three steps up the ladder. I don't remember stepping down off the ladder. This hits you more afterwards when you think, my God, we probably slept last night. This guy could be -- that -- you know, I don't know. It's -- it's surreal.


HARDING: In that instant, police responded and he and his wife were taken away.


HARDING: People are calling you a national hero.

HENNEBERRY: If the people that were killed can get some -- whoo.

HARDING: You know, in many ways, they do.

HENNEBERRY: Then I'm at peace with it, you know.


BURNETT: Still to come "Out Front" live tonight, how did the brothers allegedly become radicalized? We have a special "Out Front" investigation with our David Mattingly on the ground. Plus, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and why she isn't talking to investigators one- on-one.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: New details tonight about what motivated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, to allegedly carry out the Boston marathon terror attacks, in which three died and more than 260 were wounded.

According to a government official, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the reasons that he and his brother, Tamerlan, decided to set off the deadly bombs. Tsarnaev has told investigators that the brothers were self- radicalized. But the question is, is that possible? How could these two Chechen immigrants become jihadists?

Our David Mattingly investigates OUTFRONT.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eyewitness photographs capture the violent street shootout and the last moments of a desperate and dangerous Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

A federal law enforcement source tells CNN Tsarnaev's own brother conveyed to investigators he was not only the mastermind behind the Boston bombing, but he was motivated by a jihadist call for retaliation for so-called attacks on Islam, a self-made radical with a wealth of information at his fingertips.

DANA JANBEK: It's estimated that there are over 8,000 websites that are -- that have very extremist radical ideology.

MATTINGLY: Eight thousand?

JANBEK: Over 8,000 websites.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Dana Janbek studies the reach and impact of online jihadist sites.

MATTINGLY: How many of these offer explanations or instructions on how to build weapons?

JANBEK: So some of them do.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A senior administration official says investigators are trying to determine if the online "Inspire" magazine, published by Al Qaeda in Yemen, could be one of the sites possibly providing the blueprints for the bombs Tsarnaev used. But there are doubts that Tsarnaev could have built the devices successfully without some kind of training.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: The fact that five of his bombs went off is an extraordinary piece of luck or he knew what he was doing. I don't see in any middle way.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): CNN analyst Bob Baer believes Tsarnaev could have had personal contact and training with jihadists when he visited his parents in Russia early last year.

Social media may provide a clue. After returning to the U.S., a video of an Islamic militant known as Abu Dujana (ph) was posted and then removed from Tsarnaev's YouTube channel.

BAER: He listened to somebody there. He maybe got some sort of training or at least watched people build this stuff. Something, there's something we're missing. I just have an uneasy feeling about it. But not having the facts, I can't assure you a hundred percent.

A U.S. government official tells CNN Tsarnaev's brother claims they had no contact with any foreign terrorist organization. And online preachings of Anwar al-Awlaki were a likely influence.

But his hard answers behind his radicalization prove elusive. There is no doubt in Tsarnaev's ability to conceal his sinister plans from those closest to him, his parents and even his wife.

MIRIAM WEIZENBAUM, ATTORNEY FOR KATHERINE RUSSELL: The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all.


BURNETT: Thanks so much to our David Mattingly.

Now federal investigators are talking to the lawyers for Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow. But we have not been able to ascertain if they have been doing something absolutely crucial, and that is talking with Katherine Russell directly.

According to her attorneys, the 24-year-old Rhode Island native is cooperating with the investigation, knew nothing about the bombings and is devastated. But it's still unclear exactly what she might have known. After all, according to our understanding, she was living with him, even after the bombings, in a very small apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Chris Lawrence is in Rhode Island, her family home, with the latest. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow hustled out of her parents' Rhode Island home Tuesday. Investigators want her help as they piece together the alleged Boston bomber's plan.

WEIZENBAUM: The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in- law came as an absolute shock to them all.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Her attorney says Katherine Russell lived with Tamerlan in a cramped Cambridge apartment. As authorities try to determine when and where he may have assembled the bombs, investigators want to find out what, if anything, she knows.

AMATO DELUCA, KATHERINE RUSSELL'S ATTORNEY: She is doing everything she can to assist in the ongoing investigation.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Russell's attorneys say she didn't know anything. They say she last saw Tamerlan before she went to work Thursday, before the FBI released this video. They say she worked as a home health aide while Tamerlan stayed home with the couple's young daughter.

AMOS TROUT PAINE, RUSSELL'S FORMER TEACHER: Very outgoing, very friendly, very smart and very talented.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): That's the Katie (ph) Russell Amos Trout Paine remembers. Her high school art teacher says she talked a lot about earning her college degree.

LAWRENCE: Are you surprised how her life has turned out so far?

PAINE: I was surprised to find out that she had dropped out. And I hadn't seen any indication of a particular interest in a lot of religion.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Russell was raised Christian in suburban Providence. She moved to Boston for college, met Tamerlan and dropped out. Attorneys say she converted to Islam and was an observant Muslim who wore the hijab or headscarf.


BURNETT: Thanks very much to Chris Lawrence, who has been doing the legwork on reporting on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife.

Well, according to government officials, the Tsarnaev brothers became self-radicalized jihadists by their own accord. At least that is what the younger brother has said so far in interviews from his hospital room.

But how did these men end up taking the path?

And did they recruit others? UPFRONT tonight, Steve Hassan, he has been counseling people with radical personality changes and extreme behavior for more than three decades as the director of the Freedom of Mind Research Center.

Thank you so much. I'm really glad to talk to you, because everything we have heard seems to indicate -- and I want to emphasize seems to indicate -- that this happened over a relatively short period of time, whether it was a few years or a year, it happened very quickly, that they went from being normal, all-American kids.

Even more recently, the younger brother out partying, having fun with his friends, and then all of a sudden, becomes a jihadist.

Does this happen just from the Internet?

STEVEN HASSAN, COUNSELOR, FREEDOM OF MIND RESEARCH CENTER: It doesn't -- I don't think that the older brother was recruited just from the internet. The latest information confirms my suspicion that, in fact, there was a person who recruited and began indoctrinating the older brother.

But I just want to say that when I was recruited into a cult in 1974, it took two weeks for me to drop out of college, quit my job, donate my bank account and believe that the Messiah was on Earth. So, yes, it can happen very fast.

BURNETT: I mean, that's incredible. You say that, it just brings to mind Katherine Russell. You know, we've shown pictures of her in high school, A student, graduating college. She wanted to join the Peace Corps. Those were her goals. That's her then.

She changed dramatically to marry Tamerlan Tsarnaev. She dropped out of school. She started wearing the headscarf, the hijab, converted to Islam. She changed her life, had a baby instead of finishing college.

Is that -- I mean some people might say, you know what, that's a choice some people make.


HASSAN: Very typical, Erin.

BURNETT: That's healthy. But is it -- is it healthy or not?

HASSAN: It's a stereotypical scenario of an undue influence situation, in my opinion. And what people don't understand is that intelligent, educated people can be deceptively recruited incrementally, often, with hypnosis, with different mind control techniques, such as behavior control, information control. Phobias can be installed in people's minds very fast.

And systematically, step by step, no one in my 36 years of experience says I want to join a destructive cult and blow up people.

But people do fall in love with people and then they recruit them and indoctrinate them. Or they meet a comrade and step by step they get indoctrinated and then family members and friends witness this personality change but then are frozen because they don't know what to do to help the loved one.

BURNETT: So the thing that has just -- I haven't been able to get my mind around at all, among many things, but one of them is how the younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19 years old, goes back to school, goes to the gym, goes to parties, is in his dorm.

For three days after these attacks, in fact, he's even there Thursday when the video comes out, as if nothing happened. It's what everyone says, as if nothing had happened.

How is that possible? He had just killed people.

HASSAN: It's very, very understandable, if you understand the paradigm of dissociative disorder with a cult identity that suppresses the person's real identity. And if he was instructed by his brother, the indoctrinator, to go back to school and pretend like nothing's happened and act normally, then he's going to go back to school and act normally. Completely stereotypical behavior, in my opinion.


BURNETT: Incredible. Well, thank you, Steven.

And still OUTFRONT, the destructive force of a pressure cooker bomb and what it means for the recovery of the survivors of the Boston marathon attacks.

Plus, he looked out of his window and witnessed the deadly shootout between the Tsarnaev brothers and police. And now you'll see the footage.



BURNETT: More than a week after the bombings, 43 victims are hospitalized. As I speak tonight, 13 have had amputations. And of course three people lost their lives and there was the MIT policeman who lost his life after the attacks.

Immense destruction from what officials say were two crude and homemade devices. A pressure cooker detonator can explode with immense force, though, propelling thousands of sharp, searing objects through the air.

Now, we commissioned explosives experts at a New Mexico test range to detonate a similar device and our David Mattingly showed us what happened.


VAN ROMERO, V.P., N.M. MINING AND TECHNOLOGY: Four, three, two, one.

MATTINGLY: How fast were these things moving when they went out of there?

ROMERO: They can travel a thousand, two thousand feet a second.

MATTINGLY: A second? That's faster than sound.

ROMERO: Right. They'll move faster than the speed of sound. These things will actually get in front of the shock wave and hit you before the shock -- before the pressure wave does.

MATTINGLY: You're hit before you even hear it?

ROMERO: That's right.

BURNETT (voice-over): Hit before you even hear it. Faster than the speed of sound. Look again, this time through the lens of a high- speed camera, at the ripples. See those ripples traveling across the sand? That shows the impact of the shock wave as it moves out.

In Boston, the packed marathon spectator crowd was right for maximum carnage.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now to explain the injuries.

I mean, on some level, when you think about how many people were around, so many people are seriously injured, whose lives have been devastated forever. Three people are dead.

When you look at that, do you think that this was the maximum damage it could have done?

Or could this have been a lot worse?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question. And when you think about these types of devices, David showed what was in that particular pressure cooker, we know from talking to doctors, there was carpenter nails, there was these BB-like devices.

They get a huge amount of force sitting in that pressure cooker. And then it's indiscriminate, Erin. I think that's one of the things that doctors said as well, it's just indiscriminate in the way that it travels obviously very fast. And they've behaving, in some ways, like bullets.

So it can cause all sorts of different injuries. And I think it's really hard to predict; yes, it could have been a lot worse, to answer your question.

One thing I will say, when you fire a gun or a bullet, it's designed obviously to travel a certain speed, to go in a certain direction, maybe to tumble when it hits the body. This is just sort of like a scatter shock of things.

So you just don't know what you're going to see.

BURNETT: No, David Mattingly has also talked about, you know, that you hear it after it hits you. And it goes faster than the speed of sound, which is just, you know, maybe something we wouldn't all necessarily realize at first glance.

But are the injuries you get from these pieces of shrapnel, which often are distorted and twisted, I mean, unlike a bullet, which at least has a firm shape to it, is this a worse injury than you would get from a bullet?

GUPTA: It can be. But, you know, the thing about these -- just keep in mind, with bullets, even the bullets sometimes are designed to do all sorts of things in the body like yaw, like tumble, do all sorts of things. These bits of shrapnel can sort of do the same thing.

So you get that primary blast, which David was talking about; that can cause injuries that you don't even see. It can do things to your intestines, your eardrums.

Then you get that secondary blast, sometimes they're right on top of each other because the shrapnel is moving so fast. And they can penetrate all of these different areas of the body.

Now the BBs or the ball bearings that David was describing and then, again, the doctors were describing in Boston, are perhaps the most concerning. They can literally penetrate, as one doctor said, they can penetrate through the chest, go through the heart, a very, very small wound; you may not even see it, but cause a deadly injury sometime within -- somewhere within the chest cavity.

So that --


BURNETT: So you don't even see all the injuries that you may necessarily get?

GUPTA: No, and that's what sometimes is so difficult for doctors, I think either in an urban setting like this or in war zones, because what happens if someone comes in and they look like they may relatively okay. But they have a small piece of shrapnel that has caused a tear in a blood vessel and they're starting to bleed. And --

BURNETT: Which would probably be impossible --

GUPTA: You wouldn't even know where to look.

And there are people walking around who have over 100 pieces of shrapnel in their body. You don't always --

BURNETT: Who don't know it?

GUPTA: -- they may not know it. They -- and they -- there may be no point in actually taking that out. People -- a lot of those people coming back from war zones.


BURNETT: All right. Thanks to you, Sanjay.

And tonight, dramatic new images reveal what happened, moment by moment, when police first caught up with the two bombing suspects in Watertown early on Friday morning.

Up until now, there have been a lot of questions about what to place during this deadly shootout. It left one of the suspects dead. Our Jake Tapper is OUTFRONT. He actually went to a neighbor's house whose photographs are helping to fill in what were a lot of blanks until now.


ANDREW KITZENBERG: Cars were stopped right in front of that pole from her, so it's roughly 75, 80 yards from here.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Andrew Kitzenberg's normally tranquil suburban street erupted into a war zone. The 26-year old had the presence of mind to start taking pictures with his iPhone and live tweeting the gun battle as the Tsarnaev brothers were allegedly pinned down by police. He walked us through what he experienced that night.

KITZENBERG: As soon as I saw the two shooters and saw that it was gunfire, I ran immediately up the stairs to my bedroom on the third floor. Then I also got my camera right up against the windows and the glass, continuing to take photos of the shooters and what was happening right in front of my bedroom window.

TAPPER: Describe what you were seeing here.

KITZENBERG: So this was one of the first pictures I took. And it was the two shooters that were taking cover behind the black SUV. And still engaging in gunfire and shooting down towards the Watertown officer.

TAPPER: OK. So that's -- the green sedan is where they had bombs?


TAPPER: -- pipe bombs and explosives?

KITZENBERG: Yes, they were bringing them out in backpacks. So I assume that in those backpacks were additional ammunition and explosives.

TAPPER: And they were both firing?

KITZENBERG: They were both firing, yes.

TAPPER: What's going through your mind when you're taking these pictures?

Did you know that these were the brothers that were wanted?

KITZENBERG: Not initially.

TAPPER: You thought it was separate?

KITZENBERG: I just wasn't thinking marathon. I didn't make a separation. I just -- it didn't come into my mind until they started using explosives, and when they started using explosives, that's when I knew it was something much more significant and pretty much knew who I was looking at.

TAPPER: Were you worried for your life?

KITZENBERG: You know, at that moment, taking pictures, it was more so in just a state of a shock and I was terrified. But I guess not enough to stop or to get away from the windows.

After that larger explosion and there was a smoke cloud in the street, one of the brothers ran towards the officers.

TAPPER: The older brother.

KITZENBERG: Yes. And he was running down the street, still engaging gunfire, ran down the street. As he got closer to the officers, he was taken down. And as of that happened, the second brother -- the other brother got back into the SUV, turned it around and then he started accelerating down the street.

TAPPER (voice-over): Four and a half days later, adrenaline is still running high on this street. After all, anything could have happened.

TAPPER: At what point did the bullet go through your roommate's wall and into his chair?

KITZENBERG: I don't know. I didn't hear it come in. I took a picture kind of after the gunfire had stopped.

TAPPER: A bullet was fired from that direction where the police were. And it went through the second floor here, through his calendar, through his desk chair and landed on the ground, thankfully, not hitting any person.


BURNETT: That image is just -- that image says it all.

Next, returning to Boylston Street for the first time since the bombings.



BURNETT: We have just learned that Boston's Boylston Street is going to reopen to the public in literally about three hours and five minutes, at 3 o'clock am on Wednesday, according to a tweet sent out by the Boston Police Department earlier this hour. Boylston Street, of course, was ground zero for the Boston terror attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT (voice-over): Earlier today, residents and business owners were allowed to return to the area for the first time since the bombings. It's also a place where a makeshift memorial has taken shape since the attack and tonight it was moved a few blocks away to the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth.


BURNETT: A memorial that represents what Boston is fighting and will still be fighting and its resolve. And also a reopening of a place that needed to reopen so a city can start the long process to healing.

Our continuing coverage of the Boston bombings continues next with PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Thanks for watching.