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New Details About Boston Bombing Investigation; Law Enforcement Source: Suspect No. 2 May Have Had Help Getting Rid of Evidence

Aired April 26, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much.

Good evening, everyone. We have got breaking news tonight. CNN has learned that others may have played a role in helping suspect number two get rid of evidence after the bombing. This according to law enforcement source.

Also, new details about how the brothers allegedly financed their operation and made one of their bombs.

That and other new developments, including word published today in the "Boston Herald" raising the possibility of additional arrests. The paper quoting Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee, as saying he expects additional persons of interest to surface and perhaps additional suspects. This isn't over yet. Those were his words.

Meantime, for the first time, survivors still at the hospital will no longer have to share the building with this man, the younger suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Earlier this morning, he was transferred to the federal medical prison facility on what used to be Fort Devens, about 40 miles northwest of here. We will be live at that facility tonight as well.

Also tonight, as we mentioned a moment ago, we are learning more about one of the pipe bombs found at the scene of last week's shootout in Watertown. An official calling it similar to a design published in an Al Qaeda magazine. The lingering question is simply following a recipe enough, or did the bombers have help, instruction?

Former CIA officer Bob Baer and others weigh in on that. Susan Candiotti has late reporting on that as well as other late wrinkles in the investigation, including breaking news on what and who led authorities to this landfill not far from where the younger suspect went to college. She's also got new details on the shadowy figure known only as Misha who reportedly steered the suspects or at least the older brother toward a more radical strain of Islam.

Mary Snow shows us a very rare inside look at the biggest and many say best local antiterrorism task force anywhere run by the New York police department. She asked if things might have been different if the bombers had first targeted New York.

Also tonight, as always, there are the heroes and the survivors. Today, Jeff Bowman, we got some news about him. You know he is one of the people who first identified one of the suspects.

I also speak to Heather Abbott, who had the difficult choice of whether to try to live with a mangled foot or to have her foot amputated. We will tell you what she chose and how she's doing right now.

We begin with Susan Candiotti, who has late details on the investigation.

Susan, what do you know? What led investigators first to this landfill?


Well, this information is coming to us from a U.S. law enforcement official who is very close to the Boston investigation and someone with whom I've been talking with throughout. And this source tells us that the leads to search the landfill for that laptop computer came not only from the suspect himself, the young man who is now hospitalized, but others who, according to this official, may have had knowledge of its whereabouts or may even have played a role in ditching it, getting rid of it, after the bombing.

Now, the source says there is also evidence that leads investigators to think that the elder brother, Tamerlan, may have been involved in drug dealing. The source would not elaborate on the nature of the evidence. We have already been talking about the fact that they have been looking into whether he may have supported himself through drug dealing.

But of course, if they can find that laptop, Anderson, in this landfill after it had been ditched somewhere that was, you know, like a dumpster that eventually made it to the landfill, if they can get into that, they can find out things like e-mails and contacts and schedules, and instructions. So much other information about how this plot may have come together.

COOPER: OK. Just a couple quick things. Again, we may not know the information so just say no if we don't. But, do we know when this laptop was allegedly ditched?

CANDIOTTI: Only after the bombing. Not precisely when. And that's something they're still trying to work out.

COOPER: Also, several days ago, as you mentioned, we had reported that law enforcement had as a working hypothesis the idea that Tamerlan may have been involved in drug dealing. What you are hearing tonight is more firm than that, not just a working hypothesis?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. That there is actual evidence that they are looking into to follow that thread, more than just a suspicion. When I pressed the official for what that information was, what the evidence was, I didn't get very far at this point.

COOPER: OK. I understand you also have new information about what the bombs were made of or how they were constructed. What do you know?

CANDIOTTI: Well, the belief number one is that both of the brothers had a remote device to blow up each of the two bombs. Now, in terms of the ingredients, we know that they are still analyzing a lot of this information, but they do know that one of the pipe bombs that was used in the shootout in Watertown, those improvised devices were in fact constructed from elbow pipes.

Now, elbow pipes, that is one instruction method, rather, that comes up from time to time in "Inspire" magazine which is, you know, is something that has been used and promoted by Al Qaeda to give information about how to make a bomb. So, that bit of information also is an important part of this alleged plot investigation.

COOPER: What about the suspect's level of cooperation? There has been a lot of talk from different people about how he may have stopped giving investigators information once he was mirandized. Do we know anything? I mean, is that accurate? Is that true?

CANDIOTTI: Well, sources are telling me that the investigators and one official used this term were very thorough, that they got a lot of information from this young man before he was mirandized and was advised of his rights.

Now, while he is not talking substantively at this point, there is still communication and of course, over time, Anderson, that can change and it's changed in past investigations, it could change again this time.

COOPER: A brother-in-law in an interview to Wolf Blitzer a couple days ago had mentioned this character Misha, this alleged person, we don't know if this person actually exists, who allegedly might have influenced Tamerlan Tsarnaev toward more radicalism. Have authorities -- I mean, are authorities actually, do they buy that? Have they gotten any closer to tracking him down, do they think this is real?

CANDIOTTI: I'm told that they are making as they call it, making progress in locating this individual. I am told that in fact, Misha has been identified. They know who this person is. They're looking for this person as someone that they want to talk with to get a sense of what he may have discussed with the older brother here. And so a lot of this investigation is centering overseas now, I am told by this official, to try and locate Misha.

COOPER: And I just want to be clear, this is based, your reporting, on a single source, more than one or just a single source at this point?

CANDIOTTI: We have -- I have a single source. Some of my colleagues also have sources on trying to find this individual. So we are combining that together. But the latest about where he is and that they know who it is, is coming from someone I've been talking with throughout and has given us very good information throughout the course of this investigation.

COOPER: All right. Susan, I appreciate the update.

Digging deeper, the bomb making as well as the suspected radicalization with former CIA officer Bob Baer, Nick Paton Walsh in the Dagestan region of Russia.

Nick, there has been a big crackdown on alleged Muslim extremists in Russia today by Russian authorities. Did this have any connection, as far as we know, to this ongoing investigation?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have not said that it does and there is no reason to believe there is a connection, but large numbers here, 140 arrested in an outskirt of Moscow, (INAUDIBLE), not one we've seen necessary in the spotlight in the past in terms of statements from Russian security services, but this large number surely will make people think of two possible reasons for this. Perhaps they had been looking to go for this organization for some period of time and want the international political cover of what just happened in Boston and the suggestion of a connection here, or maybe this is an attempt to try to preempt criticism they're not doing enough to stamp down on hardcore Islamic groups here. As I say, no real specifics as to why they made these arrests but my long time working in Russia, I really haven't seen such large numbers in one single swoop, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. That's a large roundup indeed. What's the latest we know about the whereabouts of the suspect's parents and the investigation by both U.S. and Russian authorities?

WALSH: I spoke to the mother this morning. They all are absolutely exhausted more than that, actually in the past week. Really, needing their privacy, talking to us about the pressure of the media and investigators have put upon them in the past. Absolutely clear they have left Dagestan now. She didn't want to say precisely where they were but key is the health of the father, Anzor. He was supposed to be traveling to the United States right about now, even yesterday, perhaps. That's on hold. He has to get better before he's prepared to get into an airplane. So they are focusing on his treatment. He will go first. The mother perhaps at a later stage. She's a bit concerned about this outstanding arrest warrant but the funeral for Tamerlan once his body is released key, of course, identified earlier, potentially a mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts where that could happen, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Bob, this word from Congressman Mike Rogers, head of the house intelligence committee, that he believes there may be more arrests, certainly more persons of interest. He said this is not over. What do you make of that?

ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think you know from what I'm seeing, there almost definitely were accomplices. Most of them are probably in Dagestan. We will probably never find out who they are. But you know, with missing evidence, missing computers, the logistics of this, raising money selling drugs, the more you hear, the more I suspect there are accomplices, witting or unwitting.

And you know, Anderson frankly, I don't trust the story given by Dzhokhar. Self-radicalized, you know, we raised our own money, we built our own bombs. I talked to a couple interrogators today, Al Qaeda interrogators. They said look, this is the kind of story all these guys give up. We did it on our own, we got on the Internet, we figured out how to make this stuff, we looked at "Inspire" magazine but that's what Al Qaeda tells them to say.

I don't know that this occurred in this case, but this is the suspicion out there, people that are not involved in the investigation but from the outside with experience, that's what they're saying.

COOPER: Nick, I mean, you have been now in Dagestan in Russia for awhile, tracking down this story. It's possible we may never know the specifics of what that elder brother was doing over there six months or who he met with, when he was back in Russia last year, correct?

WALSH: Absolutely. There are still people trying to piece it together. I mean, my conversations with Russian security services, they give no comment at all but there's a suggestion perhaps there is more information ticking around on their side of the fence. We do know this extremist militant, Abu Dujana, was attending the same mosque here, (INAUDIBLE) an Islamist accused of extremism by authorities, but it denies.

We know they attended the same mosque because his mother told me so. So, I mean, the question here is whether the men actually ever met at all or whether there was some other kind of link, perhaps Tamerlan Tsarnaev had to militancy here. He was here for six months. We don't know what he did for the first few of them. We know his aunt first saw him in March of that year when he came here in January and his father turned up in may and he began helping him refurbish apartments around town, Anderson.

COOPER: And Nick, the other day when you interviewed the mother, you asked her about the extremist who was killed in Dagestan by Russian authorities. Was I correct, because when I heard it was sort of muffled on my earpiece that she claimed not to know who this guy was? If that's in fact what she said, do you buy that, I mean, that someone in Dagestan who is, you know, devoutly religious would not know who this well-known extremist is in Dagestan?

WALSH: I have no reason to think she was necessarily deceiving me. I mean, Abu Dujana himself kept a low profile in that I think police accused him of running a criminal network in many ways, using jihad as a kind of cover for that. It's not that necessarily that everybody here would know who he was unless they happened to be involved in tracking the crimes he's been committing while he had been here. But certainly, we will never know the full extent perhaps of what she knows about what her sons were doing, if she had any idea they were up to any misdeeds at all. And it's going to be absolutely key to try and precisely prove whether there was any genuine contact between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Abu Dujana. So many of their lives overlapped, the places they prayed, the time there in (INAUDIBLE), the skills that Abu Dujana could pass or showed Tamerlan Tsarnaev. We don't ever know if those two pieces ever actually connected. Perhaps the Russian security services do, Anderson. COOPER: Bob, as you said, you were skeptical of this whole idea they built these devices on their own or didn't have some sort of guidance in a way. Susan Candiotti reporting tonight based on one single source in law enforcement that one of the bombs, the suspects allegedly used against police during the gun fight last week in Watertown, involved an elbow pipe which is similar to what's in an Al Qaeda magazine and is sort of known as being a device from that Al Qaeda magazine. I guess it's not kind of the regular way to make this kind of a pipe bomb. Does that shake your faith that there were others involved?

BAER: Oh, no, not at all. You know, I have made so many of these myself that it's really hard to make the detonators work and electronics. You need practice. If you do this stuff on your own, yes. If you do this as a job, work with your hands, yes, but I don't think neither of these two men did.

But on the other hand, there's no explosives expert will tell you need hands-on practice for a very long time, especially when you're making these things go off under pressure like a gun fight, or you're placing bombs. You just can't count on people --

COOPER: Bob, you have actually made these devices?

BAER: Yes. I was down in Huntsville two years ago and ATF runs a course down there where they are making detonators, setting off black powder. They are copying this stuff to show police forces how it's put together and what they are up against. This is a defensive measure and inside the CIA made bombs, there's training. And I don't trust myself but at least I've had some experience with it. And the explosives experts all tell me you are extraordinarily lucky to set off this many bombs, five of them, put them together so neatly, to make them work, it would be just absolutely remarkable these two young men could do that on their own.

COOPER: Nick, Bob Baer, appreciate you being on as always and Paton Walsh as well.

As we said, the surviving suspect has been relocated to that federal prison hospital where the army base Fort Devens used to be. Jason Carroll is there right now. He's outside federal medical center, Devens.

You learned some new details about how Tsarnaev was processed and handled when he got to the facility. What have you heard?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically what I can tell you, Anderson, is that Tsarnaev is in stable condition and doctors at Beth Israel as well as U.S. marshals decided he was stable enough to be able to be moved to this facility.

Happened early this morning, we're told just around 5:00 a.m., and immediately upon Tsarnaev's arrival, he was put through something that's called the intake screening program. That's a step by step program. First step on that is he goes through a strip search. After that, he has a medical screening. Then a psychological screening. After that, he takes part in something that's called a social intake screening and that's basically where they debrief him on the rules and regulations of what's involved in being at this facility.

And then, Anderson, we were told they took a DNA sample. They took fingerprints. Also, they took a photograph. All of that material was then turned over to the FBI and I'm told that entire process took about an hour before he was then transferred to his cell -- Anderson?

COOPER: So is he like in a hospital room? You said he's in a cell?

CARROLL: Yes. What I'm told is from the spokesperson here, and I had two conversations with him today, basically it's a very basic cell. It has a steel door, it has a slot in the front of the door so food can go through it. He has his own sink, his own toilet. It is a single cell, but it's in a restricted part of the facility. This entire facility can hold about 1,000 inmates. But since he's deemed to be a high risk offender, he's held in a special section that can only hold about 30 or so inmates, so they are under more of a watchful eye of the guards who are there. So he's in a special section of this facility here.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll outside the facility, I appreciate your reporting on that.

Thanks a lot, Jason.

There's a lot to tell you about throughout this hour. You can follow me on twitter, @andersoncooper. I will be tweeting tonight, trying to at least during commercial breaks.

Next, we are going to take you where few outsiders get to go, inside New York's counterterrorism system to look at what might have happened if the bombing suspects had been hatching a plot there instead of here in Boston.

And later, my visit with the wounded survivor. She's a remarkable young woman she's recovering, growing stronger every day. She had to be strong to begin with to make the decision that she just made.


COOPER: You were presented with a choice about whether or not to try to keep your foot.


COOPER: I can't imagine being presented with that choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't have imagined it until I was faced with it myself.


COOPER: Welcome back.

Our breaking news tonight, CNN has learned that others may have, said may have, played a role in helping suspect number two, the younger suspect, getting rid of evidence after the bombing. Namely, a laptop that investigators think was ditched in a landfill near his college campus after the bombings.

Now, a federal law enforcement official close to the investigation says their leads to search the dump came not only from the suspect but others who may have had knowledge of its whereabouts or may have played a role in ditching it.

Additionally, this source telling Susan Candiotti, there is evidence that leads investigator to think the elder brother, Tamerlan, may have been involved in drug dealing. Susan also reporting tonight that investigators have now identified the shadowy figure, Misha, who may have helped radicalize the older brother, that's the concrete, now a tantalizing hypothetical. Would things have happened differently if the bombers had been targeting New York? Some experts say yes.

Mary Snow is going to explain why right now.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A show of police force that's now a routine drill in New York City in the wake of September 11th. All of it viewed back at police headquarters in a command center very few civilians are ever allowed to see. It's part of an antiterrorism initiative put in place by New York police commissioner Ray Kelly.

Are you aware of any other police department that has this extensive technology?

RAY KELLY, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY POLICE: No. No. You know, people understandably don't see themselves threatened as we do.

SNOW: But there are some things in this nerve center we are not allowed to show you, like the electronic board constantly updating with police alerts about criminal and suspicious activities.

Some 4,000 cameras around the city stream into this command center. Due to security concerns, Boston police won't say how many cameras are in their city, but the number is believed to be dwarfed by those in New York. Select cameras even send out an automated alarm if a bag is left unattended for several minutes.

KELLY: If it looks -- continues to look suspicious, the bomb squad would come in. They would try to x-ray it and if there was still no final determination, they may use a disrupter to -- you know, high-powered water that would disrupt a bomb.

SNOW: Times Square is of particular concern because millions of people come here every year, and in 2010, it was the target of a failed car bomb attempt. The NYPD has stressed video surveillance here but it's also put counterterrorism resources into things you can't see. A thousand officers working counterterrorism. The unit actively monitoring for potential terrorists.

MITCHELL SILBER, FORMER HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: The lead may come in from another law enforcement or intelligence agency so it might come from, you know, some other part of the country or somewhere around the world.

SNOW: Mitch Silber is the former head of the NYPD's counterterrorism intelligence unit. In 2007, he wrote a report about the threat of home-grown terrorists, citing the biggest threat coming from ordinary citizens who become radicalized in the west, specifically Muslims. It generated controversy.

The NYPD has also come under criticism for monitoring Muslims but the department insists everything done is within a legal framework. Silber stresses that keeping tabs on suspicious behavior can potentially track down a lone wolf. He points out that in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, questions from Russia about his travel there as well as being asked to leave a mosque would have put him on the radar of the NYPD. He says there are other personal changes that can be warning signs of radicalization.

SILBER: These individuals gave up their old habits. They gave up their old friends. Just like we had heard with the Tsarnaev brother, Tamerlan, he gave up boxing because that was considered a secular activity.

SNOW: Silber says social networking sites and chat rooms are often enablers and strengthen the radicalization process. All of it funneling through the NYPD's counterterrorism search for a needle in a haystack.


COOPER: Mary snow, it's really interesting, that idea that there are certain sort of common markers that might indicate someone going down the road of increased radicalism, and these are all things that the NYPD tries to look out for, things like causing disruption at a mosque or leaving a mosque or social media networks, things like that.

COOPER: Yes, Anderson, and what they are saying is that there has to be certain criteria for an investigation such as, you know, another country asking questions or travel plans that might be under suspicion. But yes, all these things are factors in things they look for, and in monitoring any kind of suspicious activity or just sudden changes in a person's life are all part of -- in what is described as a mosaic really of facts they try to weave together.

COOPER: It is fascinating. Mary, appreciate it.

Whatever the target, so many questions remain as to the motivation. What put the bombing suspects on their path to Boylston Street and beyond if they are in fact guilty? The surviving suspect claimed they were self-radicalized and there's this. Misha, in Tamerlan's time in Russia and a string of other possibilities to consider.

With me now is Maajid Nawaz, a former leader in the global Islamist movement and now a human rights and democracy activist.

Maajid, it is great to have you back on the program.

Do you believe, I mean, the NYPD clearly believes as Mary Snow was just reporting that there are certain markers, a disruptive family event, alienation perhaps from a mosque or religious institution, that they can trace. Do you think there are certain commonalities that you see in people as they go down the path toward radical Islam?

MAAJID NAWAZ, DIRECTOR, QUILLIAM FOUNDATION: Well, there are those who are less trained, less well trained and of course, they will be less vigilant in concealing the radicalization that they are going through, and the way in which that will appear will be an example such as Tamerlan Tsarnaev being kicked out or expelled from the mosque for his extreme views.

The traditional religious Muslim communities have always rejected this form of extremism and even when I was recruited at the age of 16 to an Islamist organization, I not only have been kicked out of a mosque, I have been physically attacked at a mosque for promoting my brand of radical Islamism. So that's always been the case.

But then, there are the really sort of professional trained radical Islamists and if you think back to the 9/11 hijackers, for example, some of the stories we heard of them mixing in pubs, almost even drinking alcohol, they will do whatever it takes to go undetected, because they know that there will be people out there looking for this sort of behavior, and they are the more, in fact, I would be more worried about those because they would be the ones who would be able to reap much more devastation.

So, that of course, that begs the question, what do we do about that type of person who doesn't change his or her behavior and blends in with everybody else, and the report mentioned it accurately. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. And that leaves us only with one other option. And that's what I speak about a lot. And that is that we have to ask the question what makes angry young Muslims at the age of 16, 17, 18 years old or around there, join this form of or this phenomenon in the first place. Why do they believe that this is a legitimate vent for any frustrations they may be feeling and why do they no longer join militant communist organizations as they perhaps may have done in the '50s and '60s. Why --

COOPER: What made you do it?

NAWAZ: What made me do it?

COOPER: What made you do it at 16?

NAWAZ: Yes. It's a combination of wanting a form of resistance ideology, a vent to express grievances, and the zeitgeist of the time in London that was radicalism in the '60s, it would have been Arab socialism.

So, the challenge we have is how to make Jihadism, radical Islamism today as unfashionable as communism has become. And that means we need to start promoting counter narratives. It means, we need to start challenging the jihadist ideology, discrediting their propaganda. It means we need to stop promoting alternative ideas, alternative narratives, alternative leaders and symbols.

If I ask you a question, Anderson, about whether you think of -- if you can think of leaders and symbols that are associated with radical Islamism in the Middle East today it would be quite easy to think of them. You think of the black flags, you think of leaders such as bin Laden, Al-Awlaki, al Zarqawi.

If I say the same questions for leaders and symbols of democratic activism in the Middle East today, we are much harder pressed to think of those leaders and symbols. And that tells us something about the power of the radical Islamist brand versus the power of the democratic brand. And that's what we should really be focusing on. I think we have been mis-targeting the target is not necessarily the individuals but the target must be the ideas and we must be engaging in a counter narrative campaign.

COOPER: So how do you build that counter narrative? Where are those individuals that you can point to? I mean, I guess some you would have pointed to, you know, those who are campaigning for democracy in Egypt to overthrow Mubarak, although certainly we have seen that not work out as many of them had wanted.

NAWAZ: Well, we have had two huge opportunities that we have missed. One of them as you rightly mentioned were the Arab uprisings and specifically with Tunisia and Egypt. And the second was the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in the head at point-blank range by the Taliban in Pakistan.

Now, those two opportunities could have been indeed exploited to turn the tables on the extremists and to point, in the case of Malala Yousafzai, their sheer and utter brutality in targeting a child by shooting her in the head just because she wanted an education.

And in Egypt's case, we could have successfully rebranded democratic activism as being a viable alternative to radical Islamism in the Middle East. The reason we missed both those opportunities is because there's one missing element in both of those examples and that is that the young democratic activists on the grassroots in both Pakistan and in Egypt and North Africa are missing the sort of social movement that the radical Islamists have.

The organized structure across society through which we can capitalize on examples such as this, and instead, what happened in both of those examples, Anderson, if you were following, in both of those examples, the radical Islamists managed to seize the opportunity.

A camera crew and a debate where she was shot was being organized and I saw this unfold with my very eyes, the extremists managed to capitalize on this and they published a photograph and disseminated this through the social media of Malala sitting with Richard Holbrooke and they presented her as somehow in collaboration with the CIA and as an American agent. And that very quickly turned the narrative and the reason they were able to do that is because they had this social movement that was able to -- they were able to activate so fast. The same as we know happened in Egypt with the Islamists coming to power.

COOPER: Right. It's fascinating. Maajid Nawaz, I appreciate having you on. We want to have you on again. Thank you so much.

Just ahead, you are going to meet an amazing woman who survived the bombings. Her name is Heather Abbott. She was outside a bar near the finish line when the first bomb exploded then came the blast that would change her life forever.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before I could even think of what to do, the second blast happened and I found myself catapulted into the bar on the ground.

COOPER: So it actually lifted you up.




COOPER: Well, it's been humbling to talk to the heroes who saved so many lives here, and to the victims who have shown really extraordinary strength and grace. Today, I had the privilege of meeting Heather Abbott. She's a great person, as you're about to see.

The day of the marathon, Heather, some of her friends had taken the train up from Providence, Rhode Island. It's a tradition for them, catch a baseball game and watch the marathon runners. Heather was hit by the second blast. Her left foot and ankle, badly mangled.

This picture was taken just days after the attack. That's of course First Lady Michelle Obama visiting Heather in the hospital. Not long after that visit, Heather faced a decision. It's a decision that's hard to imagine, whether or not to keep her injured foot. We talked earlier today.


COOPER: Can you tell me about what you remember from that day?

HEATHER ABBOTT, BOSTON BOMBING SURVIVOR: Yes. That day, I came up to Boston with a group of friends to watch the Red Sox game, and then go watch the runners close to the finish line at a bar called "Forum." I remember getting -- when we got to the bar, the bouncer was standing at the door taken people's I.D.s. and my two girl friends were in front of me.

I was the last one in line and other friends are already inside the bar. We saw -- we heard, you know, a loud noise. I think all of us turned around. I know I saw a lot of smoke. I saw people crying and running, and I immediately thought I was at some sort of terrorist attack.

COOPER: That was your initial thought?

ABBOTT: It was. Because it reminded me of something I saw on the September 11th events. So before I could even think of what to do, the second blast happened and I found myself catapulted into the bar on the ground.

COOPER: So it actually lifted you up?


COOPER: And blew you through where the entrance of the bar is?



ABBOTT: It did. And I saw one of my friends in front of me and everybody was just running towards the back of the bar. I was outside and I remember thinking like is that the right thing to do, like what if there's another one. But as I started to think about it, I realized I couldn't move.

I felt like my foot was on fire. I was in a lot of pain and I couldn't stand up. So I learned later that I started crawling towards the exit, and I was just saying somebody please help me.

People kept running by and a woman luckily heard me say it and came over and tried to give me a hand. She asked another woman to assist her and they both were trying to get me to the back.

COOPER: To the back of the bar?

ABBOTT: To the back of the bar, the exit where the outside was.

COOPER: You said it felt like your foot was on fire. Did you check it out?

ABBOTT: No. I felt like it was on fire and I thought if I look at it, I'm not going to keep going. It will scare me so much that I won't move.

COOPER: So you didn't even look down?

ABBOTT: No, I didn't look down until I did look at one point when I was being carried down at the ground that I saw a trail of blood.

COOPER: What's going through your mind at a time like that?

ABBOTT: I was just hoping I wasn't going to die. And that I would get in the ambulance in time and I also was in excruciating pain that I wanted to end.

COOPER: Did anybody do a tourniquet at any point?

ABBOTT: They did, yes. They tied a belt around my leg. My friend, Tommy, gave his belt and they tied it around my leg. I remember that hurting a lot.

COOPER: But it's essential to stop the bleeding.

ABBOTT: Right.

COOPER: They put you in the ambulance?

ABBOTT: They put me in the ambulance. I remember them putting an IV in me and cutting my clothes. I later learned that my clothes were sent to the FBI.

COOPER: Because you were so close.


COOPER: So you get to the hospital. At what point did you learn about your injury?

ABBOTT: I don't think it was until the next day, when I woke up from the anesthesia.

COOPER: What did they say to you when you woke up the next day?

ABBOTT: They said, they told me I had a very serious injury to my foot, that my ankle is broken. All the little bones in my heel were broken. There was some tissue damage, and that they would be doing another surgery to really get in there and take a good look at it and determine whether they would be able to save it or not.

COOPER: You were presented with a choice.


COOPER: About whether or not to try to keep your foot.

ABBOTT: Right.

COOPER: I can't imagine being presented with that choice.

ABBOTT: I couldn't have imagined it until I was faced with it myself.

COOPER: So in the end, you decided to let them take off the foot?

ABBOTT: I did.

COOPER: When you made the decision, was it -- what were you feeling?

ABBOTT: To me, there almost wasn't a choice because the way they described my life being with keeping -- with the option of keeping the foot, I couldn't imagine having a life where I couldn't -- I really couldn't do anything for myself. So I really never doubted the decision. COOPER: How do you feel now?

ABBOTT: I feel -- I still feel as though I made the right decision. I think the rehabilitation is going to be difficult. It's going to be a lot of work, but I made progress every day so I feel confident that, you know, eventually I'll get there.

COOPER: You've got a great attitude.

ABBOTT: If I didn't, I won't get to where I want to be.

COOPER: Do you think a lot about that day or do you prefer not to think about it?

ABBOTT: I prefer not to think about it. I haven't focused a lot of energy on recounting the events. I think at first I did a couple times, you know, what if I had gone with the first crowd of people that went over to the bar, maybe this wouldn't have happened to me, you know.

What if I decided that I wasn't going to go to the game this year and I think I did that for a little while before I said, well, what if anything? That's not what happened. This is what happened. This is what you have to deal with.

COOPER: You're dealing with it.


COOPER: I'm so impressed by the people who rushed in to help people like yourself, who, you know, took off their belts and tied tourniquets and --

ABBOTT: Yes. That, I think, from this experience, my initial, you know, takeaway has been that people will do things that you would just never expect them to. I mean, the folks who actually got me out there, got me outside on to the ambulance didn't know me. They had no obligation to help me. They were really putting their own lives at risk because they didn't know what was going to happen next.

COOPER: Do you think about the people who did this to you?

ABBOTT: I haven't thought about it yet. I just kind of want to stay focused on rehabilitating myself and then maybe I'll learn those details later.

COOPER: But at this point that's not important to you.


COOPER: Just getting better is?

ABBOTT: Just getting better.

COOPER: I wish you strength in the days ahead.

ABBOTT: Thank you. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thanks.


COOPER: Heather Abbott. Her spirit is so strong. A fund has been set up to help pay for Heather's recovery and the prosthetic devices she's going to need for the rest of her life. To make a contribution, go to You can find that link plus links to other victims' funds on our web site at

Coming up tonight, new information about an unsolved triple murder case back from 2011. One of the victims was a close friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Now investigators are looking closely at the case for any possible connection.


COOPER: Welcome back. We're live in Boston tonight. Investigators in Massachusetts are taking a new look at an unsolved murder case from back in September of 2011 in light of what they're hearing about the dead bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Three people were killed back then in September of 2011 including Tamerlan's friend and sparring partner. The district attorney said at the time that it was not a random crime, that the victims and killers appear to have known each other.

There were never any arrests and Tamerlan wasn't ever interviewed by police. Another oddity, marijuana was sprinkled on the dead bodies of the three people. Their throats were slit.

As we said at the top, there's new evidence that Tamerlan may have been dealing drugs. Authorities do not know for sure if there is any connection, but it does heighten sort of suspicion about the murder case. Deborah Feyerick investigates.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It happened on this quiet street in Waltham, Massachusetts, three men nearly beheaded, their throats slit ear to ear.

GEOFFREY LANGSTON, NEIGHBOR: There was a girl running out of the house saying there's blood everywhere.

FEYERICK: The brutality of the murders didn't add up certainly not in a town like Waltham.

(on camera): Something else didn't make sense. The victims who were each killed in different rooms in this house were covered in marijuana. Investigators describe it as a symbolic gesture. Robbery wasn't a motive because police found thousands of dollars in cash. The theory is that the victims knew their killers.

GERRY LEONE, FORMER MIDDLESEX D.A.: We have no evidence of a break in the apartment and we have other indicia that the decedents and the assailants were known to each other. We know there are at least two people who are not in that apartment now that were here earlier.

FEYERICK (voice-over): That was 19 months ago, but the trail went cold. No arrests, no named suspects. But the attack on the Boston marathon revived interest in the case because one of the victims, 25- year-old Brendan Mess, was close friends with bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

(on camera): Tsarnaev was a golden gloves boxer. His buddy, Mess, was trained in mixed martial arts. Together they would spend hours sparring here at this gym.

(voice-over): Tsarnaev was a golden gloves boxer. His buddy trained in mixed martial arts. The two friends spent hours sparring together here at this gym. Coaches describe Tamerlan as confident, full of bravado, a man who hugged his coaches and competitors and who bragged about his young wife and newborn daughter after competing in the 2010 boxing nationals.

A source says Tsarnaev was one of the last people known to have seen Mess alive and that he was never interviewed by police in connection with the murders. More curious, says the source, Tsarnaev did not go to his friend's funeral or memorial service.

Based on text messages, police believe Brendan Mess, Rafael Teken and Eric Weismann were killed on or around September 11th, exactly ten years after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Four months after the murders, tamerlan left for Russia, staying there six months.

Investigators searched the gym last week, removing boxes. The owner of the gym refused to speak to CNN. Brendan's friends and family have continued to push for answers as have those of the other victims. Brendan and Eric spent time at this diner and were friendly with the owner, who says his son competed in mixed martial arts with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

MUSHHOOR ABU RUBIEH, BRENDAN MESS' FRIEND: I knew Tamerlan was involved in boxing and martial arts, and so was Brendan. He didn't speak too much about it when I was with him, but he did speak to my father a lot, and we did try to get my younger brother involved in martial arts. So I mean, it's kind of like a strange link between them.


COOPER: Deborah Feyerick joins me now. It's such a bizarre crime. I mean, it's rare you have three people whose throats are slit so violently.

FEYERICK: Right. The way it was done is fascinating. The reason they believe there were more than one person, because each of the three men were taken into different rooms and they were killed. Their heads were pulled back, their throats were slit, so they believed that somebody must have either been holding a gun on them or doing something to keep them at bay. COOPER: Then marijuana poured on them?

FEYERICK: All over them. They're looking at links of the younger Tsarnaev brother sold drugs. We've heard that from a couple of people, couple of students that spoke to CNN. Also, they believe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also perhaps selling drugs to support himself. So now investigators are looking at this with a whole new set of eyes. It's very, very different from the way they were looking at it when it first happened.

COOPER: They never interviewed him the first time.

FEYERICK: They never interviewed him, never interviewed him. Why that happened, not clear. But the investigation was kicked up to the Massachusetts police that got more resources, more detectives, so they can investigate a little more thoroughly.

COOPER: Deborah Feyerick, appreciate it. Remarkable.

Coming up, more heroes and brave survivors we've met here in Boston.


COOPER: On a personal note, it's been a real honor to be in Boston these past 11 days or so. We've met so many incredible people, brave, heroic people from the first responders who risked their own lives to save others to survivors whose determination and optimism have been nothing short of inspirational.

This is a city that stands united, a city that will not be defeated. Tonight, we honor the people that we've met who have shown us what it means to be Boston strong.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had this one thought in my head that I need to get there to help these people. And that's all I could focus on at that time is that there had to be something I could do to help those people.

And fortunately, after I told one of the police officers that I was a pediatric resident, they said we need your help at the front, Doctor. We need you to be there and help us and tried to run with me down, to escort me down.

Hopefully at the end, we'll be able to come out with some sort of peace and an ability to move forward, and I know I plan on running the marathon again next year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to let something like that stop -- you're not going to let a terrorist act, foreign or domestic, something like that. We're Americans, we're going to step up and step right back and do it.

We can't let them win, if we don't get back into it, you know what I mean? I would hope the marathon goes on next year and all the events future from here in Boston go on. We're not going to let them win, you know, simple as that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This city has been struck and the people have been struck, but I think that the people are holding together. People are going to get through this together, as community.

It will be interesting to see how long before we get back to where we were. Maybe we won't. Maybe this will change us forever, you know. The more these kinds of horror situations happen, evil hits, but good rises.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm proud to live in a city of heroes with all of the police, the fire, the health care, the civilians, everybody making what happened the miracle that happened that, you know, happened as far as saving so many.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just happened to be in a really bad situation, but you were there. You were put there for a reason and you had the knowledge and you know, the guts or whatever you want to call it to run in there and make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want that to be the end. I don't want this to be the end. I'm only 32. I don't want this to be the end. So whether it's, you know, running the marathon or walking the marathon or crawling the marathon and being the last one across, I'm OK with that. I didn't say I'd win it, but I am defiant and I want to come out stronger.


COOPER: That's what Boston strong is all about. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Boston's in some ways not the same city it was just 11 days ago. Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Sean Collier are gone. Their families forever changed. So many lives here have been changed. Nothing will erase the horrible images from that awful day. Boston is not the same, but it is as strong ever maybe even stronger than ever. It has been humbling and inspiring to watch the people of Boston stand tall and stand together. That does it for this edition of "360."