Calm returns after tense week

Neighbors emerge to share stories and an international investigation continues.

MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERSApril 21, 2013 

WATERTOWN, Mass. - College rowing teams raced down the Charles River and news crews began pulling out of the Watertown Mall parking lot Saturday, ceding it to weekend shoppers, as a sense of normalcy began returning to a town terrorized by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.

But along Franklin Street, where a wounded and bloodied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - spotted hiding in a backyard boat by an alert homeowner - surrendered Friday to police after an exchange of gunfire, investigators were still at work, searching for clues while shaken neighborhood residents looked for consolation.

"It was frightening," said Namita Kiran, 48, who lives on nearby Barnard Avenue and was drawn Saturday to the police barricades, sharing tales with neighbors.

Franklin, roped off with police lines, served as a greeting place, as neighbors strolled down to see where the week's events had culminated, kids, dogs and a cup of coffee in hand.

With one suspect dead and the other grievously wounded in a hospital, the investigation into the bombings turned Saturday to questions about the men's motives, and to the significance of an overseas trip one of them took last year.

Federal investigators are hurrying to review a visit that Tamerlan Tsarnaev made to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Both have active militant separatist movements.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died Friday after a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., spent six months of last year in Dagestan.

His father, Anzor, said his son had returned to renew his passport, but his stay was prolonged and, analysts said, might have marked a crucial step in his path toward these U.S. attacks.

Kevin R. Brock, a former senior FBI and counterterrorism official, said, "It's a key thread for investigators and the intelligence community to pull on."

KILLED OLDER BROTHER?

New details also emerged throughout the day of the confrontation and search that had paralyzed the region.

Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau told CNN Saturday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev probably killed his brother when Tamerlan fled during the confrontation with police. Deveau said officers had subdued Tamerlan, who'd run out of ammunition, and were handcuffing him when Dzhokhar roared toward them in his escape vehicle, sending the police scattering and crushing his brother under the wheels.

The younger Tsarnaev abandoned the vehicle, and disappeared into the darkness on foot.

BULLET-RIDDLED HOMES

The intensity of the confrontation was startlingly evident on Saturday in the Watertown neighborhood where the brothers faced off with police. Bullet holes marred at least four houses along Laurel Street, which was pitted and blackened where the Tsarnaevs had hurled explosives. Broken glass littered the street.

Shrapnel tears could be seen on the third-floor soffit of one house where a family with an infant had huddled during the battle. The home's fence was riddled with bullets holes.

A blood stain about 30 feet long, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body was dragged, remained visible on the pavement, much bigger at the end than the beginning. Hundreds of curiosity seekers milled about the street.

THE NIGHT BEFORE

Shortly after police lifted the order to stay at home early Friday evening, Franklin Street homeowner David Henneberry ventured outside his house. He noticed something suspicious about the tarp on the boat in his yard.

"He saw some blood and a body lying down," said neighbor Joe Morrissey. "He told me he jumped up, dialed 911 and there was a cavalcade of police."

Deveau said police were worried that Tsarnaev was wearing an explosive vest - as his brother had been the night before. It took the negotiator 20 to 30 minutes to persuade the 19-year-old to lift his shirt so that authorities could see his chest.

"Once we saw that, we felt comfortable enough to send some officers with tactical equipment to go in and grab him and pull him away from the boat so he wouldn't be able to have anything," Deveau told CNN.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lay in serious condition under guard Saturday.

The most serious charge available to federal prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

Officials will question Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights, as allowed on a limited basis when the public is in immediate danger, such as instances in which bombs are planted and ready to go off.

The New York Times contributed.

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