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BY EILEEN SULLIVAN, MEGHAN BARR AND KATIE ZEZIMA The Associated Press
WATERTOWN, Mass. — The suspect being hunted in the Boston Marathon bombing was in a boat stored in Watertown, a law enforcement official said, and police in armored vehicles and tactical gear rushed into the neighborhood.
The burst of activity came after police announced that they were scaling back the hunt because they had come up empty-handed following an all-day search that sent thousands of SWAT team officers into the streets and paralyzed the metropolitan area.
Boston suspect’s father says he’s a ’true angel’
MAKHACHKALA, Russia — In an anguished interview, the father of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing described his fugitive son as a smart and accomplished "angel."
Anzor Tsarnaev spoke with The Associated Press by telephone from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan after police said one of his sons, 26-year-old Tamerlan, had been killed in a shootout and the other, Dzhokhar, was being intensely pursued.
"My son is a true angel," the elder Tsarnaev said. He said his son was "an intelligent boy" who was studying medicine.
"We expected him to come on holidays here," he said.
"They were set up, they were set up!" he exclaimed. "I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan."
Tsarnaev, badly agitated, gave little more information and ended the call angrily, saying, "Leave me alone, my son’s been killed."
The younger Tsarnaev gave few clues as to his inner life on his profile on Vkontakte, a Russian equivalent of Facebook, though he did include websites about Islam among his favorites.
The family’s origins are in Chechnya, the mostly Muslim Russian republic where separatist rebels fought two full-scale wars with Russian forces since 1994.
A spokesman for Chechnya’s leader said the family left Chechnya long ago and went to Central Asia, then moved to Dagestan, a Muslim republic adjacent to Chechnya that has been the site of a sporadic insurgency for more than a decade.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. The principal’s secretary at School No. 1, Irina Bandurina, told the AP that Tsarnaev left for the U.S. in March 2002.
— The Associated Press
Boston travel: Trains, buses halted, planes flying
NEW YORK — Mass transportation to and from the Boston area was virtually shut down Friday as police conducted a massive manhunt for a suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.
The message from Boston transit authorities — shared early in the morning via Twitter — was clear: "Go/stay home."
As the manhunt stretched into the afternoon, Amtrak stopped all trains on the heavily traveled corridor between New York and Boston. Its service from Boston to Maine was also halted. All major intercity bus lines suspended service to the area. Authorities also stopped service on commuter trains into Boston as well as the city’s subway — called the T — and the city’s buses.
Only air travel functioned normally. Planes took off and landed mostly on schedule at Logan International, although passengers entering the airport drew extra scrutiny from state police.
All major highways in the region remained open except in Watertown, Mass., the center of the manhunt. But they — and most city streets — remained eerily empty as people heeded the government’s advice and stayed home.
"I’m just like everybody else in greater Boston, just staying at home, glued to the television," said Bob Trane, an elected alderman in Somerville, Mass., a densely populated city minutes from downtown Boston. "There is nobody out in the streets, very few cars, very few people walking."
Elsewhere, travelers scrambled to find a way home.
Stranded by the Amtrak shutdown, the Rev. Victoria Weinstein passed the time with a beer in a New York bar. She weighed her options for getting home to a Boston suburb.
"I have my Plan A, B, C, and D," she said. There were rides with friends, family or waiting a day. She even considering hitching a ride with a stranger from New England she met at the bar.
"I really just want to be home with my community," said Weinstein, a Unitarian Universalist pastor. "I’m just thinking about all the people whose hearts are broken."
MegaBus, which canceled 35 trips to and from Boston Friday — affecting about 2,500 passengers — said it will also cancel its 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. trips out of Boston Saturday.
Travelers whose trains or buses were canceled are getting full refunds. All airlines allowed passengers scheduled for Friday to change flights to other days, although policies varied widely. American Airlines said passengers must fly by Sunday, while United Airlines is giving passengers up to a year from the date they purchased their tickets to fly.
Passengers trying to leave Boston by air were met by Massachusetts State Police searching vehicles at entrances to Logan. The airport handles about 1,000 flights a day and has been operating at a heightened level of security since Monday’s attack, according to Matthew Brelis, director of media relations for MassPort, the public agency that runs Logan.
Government officials refused to say why flying was the only form of mass transit allowed.
But airports are a very different environment than bus or train stations. Every person and piece of luggage moving through an airport goes through a security screening. Each passenger’s name, date of birth and gender is compared to those on terrorism watch lists. And before boarding a plane out of town, each person must pass through a checkpoint where police have ample time to compare them to photos of suspects.
Friday’s manhunt capped off a tiring and emotional week for Boston residents.
"This thing just doesn’t stop. It’s been constant for the past week," said Ian Deason, director of Boston operations for JetBlue, the largest airline in the city with about 120 daily flights.
He noted that pilots and flight attendants resting in a crew lounge prior to their flights were "glued to the TV."
While Friday’s mass transit shut down was unusual it wasn’t the first closure.
Boston cut off the T for two days in February. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shut down all bus and train service ahead of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. New York also shut down its public transportation system in advance of the storms.
New York’s subways shut down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but limited parts were quickly restored. The first subway car ran just 2 hours and 28 minutes after service was halted, although parts of the system took days to resume.
London’s July 7 bombings — in which four suicide bombers detonated themselves aboard three trains and a double-decker bus in 2005 — temporarily crippled the European capital’s transit system. The next day, the majority of the system reopened.
In Los Angeles, buses, freeways and the airport were shut down following the 1992 riots. Bus service resumed three days later when schools reopened and a dawn-to-dusk curfew was lifted.
Even when Boston’s public transportation system starts up again, some Bostonians are likely to change their behavior.
Maria D’Amico, 23, started this week to only sit in the front or back of the subway.
"If anything happened on the train, it would probably happen in the middle," she said.
Back at the airport, passengers had to adapt with no mass transit linking them to the city center. Private cars, taxis and the Logan Express — a bus service to suburban park-and-ride facilities — were still able to enter the airport.
The biggest hassle for travelers was waiting for a taxi. Brelis described the lines as "exceedingly long" during the late morning. Officials were asking people to share cabs to nearby location. The backlog cleared by afternoon.
James Kearney, an information technology consultant from East Amwell, N.J. was in town for business and managed to make it home on a United flight at 10 a.m. He said via email that the 15-mile trip from the Marriott in the western suburb of Newton, Mass. to Logan on the Massachusetts Turnpike "was extremely quiet during rush hour."
Once at the airport, he said, the situation was "pretty standard."
"Even security was fast and uneventful," Kearney wrote.
Kacey Brister, a senior at Louisiana State University, was supposed to have an interview for a public relations job in Boston at 3 p.m. Friday. She was flying on Southwest Airlines from New Orleans to Boston via St. Louis.
Before boarding the last leg of her trip, Brister said that everyone was fairly calm at the gate.
"The biggest concern for most people was how they were going to get from Logan to their hotel, home," she wrote in an email, adding that there was "a sense of camaraderie between passengers."
Not everyone was so calm, however. "My mother has begged me" to turn around, she said.
— The Associated Press
Kerry: Partly there delivering justice for Boston
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry says "we are part of the way there" in finding those responsible for the Boston bombing and bringing them to justice.
He says the Obama administration is determined now to finish the job.
Speaking to reporters Friday at the State Department, Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, declined to comment on the ongoing investigation or the suspects’ background from a Russian region near Chechnya.
He said, quote: "Terror is terror. And this underscores the importance of all of us maintaining vigilance and cooperation together internationally."
Kerry added that "terror anywhere in the world against any country is unacceptable and we need to continue to stand up and fight against it."
— The Associated Press
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A hail of gunfire was heard from the neighborhood, followed by a round of blasts about an hour later.
"We heard a series of shots, really staccato-like. Then 30 to 40 cops just rolled by and everything gets crazy," said Kevin Leblanc, of Reading, who had come to Watertown to see what was happening.
The official who said 19-year-old college student Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in the boat had been briefed on the situation and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The official said the suspect was covered in blood but didn’t know if Tsarnaev was dead or alive.
Reporters were being kept away from the scene, about a mile from where authorities said Tsarnaev and his brother got in a shootout with police hours earlier.
Wellington Guimaraes, who lives in a house nearby, said he was watching heavily armed police move in when he heard shots.
"I saw them moving in, the dogs coming in and then I heard the shots — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom! — a bunch of shots right behind the house where there’s a big boat stored. ... Then there’s cops all over."
Before the gunfire, State Police Col. Timothy Alben said at a news conference that he believed Tsarnaev was still in Massachusetts because of his ties to the area. But authorities lifted the stay-indoors warning for people in the Boston area, and the transit system started running again by evening.
"We can’t continue to lockdown an entire city or an entire state," Alben said. At the same time, he and other authorities warned that Tsarnaev is a killer and that people should be vigilant.
Tsarnaev fled on foot after a furious overnight gun battle that left 200 spent rounds behind and after a wild car chase in which he and his brother hurled explosives at police, authorities said. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in the shootout, run over by his younger brother in a car as he lay wounded, according to investigators.
During the overnight spasm of violence, the brothers also shot and killed an MIT policeman and severely wounded another officer, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials and family members identified the brothers as ethnic Chechens who came to the U.S. from Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle said.
Around midday, as the manhunt dragged on, the suspects’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., pleaded on television: "Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."
The search by thousands of law enforcement officers all but paralyzed the Boston area for much of the day. Officials shut down all mass transit, including Amtrak trains to New York, advised businesses not to open, and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay inside and unlock their doors only for uniformed police.
"We believe this man to be a terrorist," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. "We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people."
Some neighborhoods resembled a military encampment, with officers patrolling with guns drawn and aimed, residents peering nervously from windows and people near surrounded buildings spirited away.
The bloody turn in the case came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of two suspects in the bombing and asked for the public’s help in identifying and catching them.
Authorities said the man dubbed Suspect No. 1 — the one in sunglasses and a dark baseball cap in the surveillance-camera pictures — was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, while Suspect No. 2, the one in a white baseball cap worn backward, was his brother.
The bombings on Monday near the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and wounded more than 180, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and sparking fears across the nation that another terrorist attack had come to U.S. soil.
Chechnya has been the scene of two wars between Russian forces and separatists since 1994, in which tens of thousands were killed in heavy Russian bombing. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although not in the West.
But investigators have shed no light on the motive for the Boston Marathon bombing and said it was unclear whether any terrorist organizations had a hand in it.
The FBI was swamped with tips after the release of the photos — 300,000 every minute by one estimate — but what role those played in the overnight clash was unclear. State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said police realized they were dealing with the bombing suspects based on what the two men told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt.
Exactly how the long night of crime began was marked by conflicting reports. But police said the brothers carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz in Cambridge, just across the Charles River from Boston, then released him unharmed at a gas station.
They also shot to death a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, 26-year-old Sean Collier, while he was responding to a report of a disturbance, investigators said.
The search for the Mercedes led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police. A transit police officer, 33-year-old Richard Donohue, was shot and critically wounded, authorities said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev somehow slipped away. He ran over his already wounded brother as he fled by car, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at a Boston hospital after suffering what doctors said were multiple gunshot wounds and a possible blast injury.
The brothers had built an arsenal of pipe bombs, grenades and improvised explosive devices and used some of the weapons in trying to make their getaway, said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Another uncle, Alvi Tsarnaev, who also lives in Montgomery Village, Md., told news organizations that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had called him Thursday night — hours before his firefight with police — and the two spoke for the first time in two or three years. He said the young man asked for forgiveness for the rift in the family.
"He said, ’I love you and forgive me,’" the uncle said.
Watertown resident Kayla Dipaolo said she was woken up overnight by gunfire and a large explosion that sounded "like it was right next to my head ... and shook the whole house." She said she was looking at the front door when a bullet came through the side paneling. SWAT team officers were running all over her yard, she said.
"It was very scary," she said. "There are two bullet holes in the side of my house, and by the front door there is another."
Christine Yajko said she heard two loud explosions and gunfire. She said a police officer later knocked on her door and told her there was an undetonated improvised explosive device in the street and warned her to stay away from the windows.
"It was on the street, right near our kitchen window," she said.
Tsarni, the men’s uncle, said the brothers traveled here together from Russia. He called his nephews "losers" and said they had struggled to settle in the U.S. and ended up "thereby just hating everyone."
U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk about an investigation in progress, said Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year and returned to the U.S. six months later.
His last known address was in Cambridge, Mass. He had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Students said he lived in a dorm there and was on campus this week after the Boston Marathon bombing. The campus closed down Friday along with colleges around the Boston area.
The city of Cambridge announced two years ago that it had awarded a $2,500 scholarship to him. At the time, he was a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a highly regarded public school whose alumni include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.
The men’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview with AP from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is "a true angel." He said his son was studying medicine.
"He is such an intelligent boy," the father said. "We expected him to come on holidays here."
According to the FBI, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was seen setting down a bag at the site of the second of two explosions at the marathon finish line.
Insurgents from Chechnya and neighboring restive provinces in the Caucasus have long been involved in terrorist attacks in Moscow and other places in Russia.
In 2002, Chechen militants took 800 people hostage in Moscow and held them for two days before special forces stormed the building, killing all 41 captors. Also killed were 129 hostages, mostly from the effects of the gas Russian forces used to subdue the attackers.
Chechen insurgents also launched a 2004 raid in the southern Russian town of Beslan and took hundreds of hostages. The siege ended in a bloodbath two days later, with more than 330 people, about half of them children, killed.
— Sullivan and Associated Press writers Stephen Braun and Jack Gillum reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay in Watertown, Pat Eaton-Robb and Steve LeBlanc in Boston and Jeff Donn in Cambridge, Mass., contributed to this report.