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No Gun in the Boat? Key Details Change in Chaotic Shootout and Subsequent Capture of Boston Bombing Suspect


"...initial reports that the brothers first came to the attention of the police after robbing a 7-Eleven were wrong."

FILE - This combination of undated file photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Credit: AP

As officials release more information about the Boston bombings -- and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture, in particular -- key details previously advanced by authorities are changing. Among them, some police sources are now claiming that the 19-year-old suspect was not armed while hiding in a boat last Friday. But that's only a sliver of the new information that seems to contradict previous reports about the chaotic manhunt.

The New York Times published an article on Thursday morning, highlighting some of these issues and corrections. To begin, not only did Dzhokar reportedly not have a gun in the boat, but it appears that police may have only found one other weapon that is traceable back to his brother, Tamerlan. This means that the brothers didn't necessarily have an arsenal, as was previously assumed.

FILE - This combination of undated file photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Credit: AP

Plus, there's the issue of how the brothers first came to the attention of officers -- one that also deserves a second look. It was the murder of Officer Sean A. Collier that apparently set the chaotic evening's event's in motion last Thursday.

According to authorities, the Tsarnaev brothers were purportedly trying to get Collier's gun when they allegedly killed him. Evidence at the scene apparently corroborates this theory, as the two were, according to sources, unable to get the weapon out of its holster.

The Times continues:

Police officials initially announced that officers had “exchanged gunfire” Friday evening with the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, as he hid in a boat in the backyard of a house in Watertown, Mass. Now several law enforcement officials say no gun was found in the boat, and officials say they are exploring what prompted officers to fire at Mr. Tsarnaev, who some feared was armed with explosives.

Law enforcement officials now say they have recovered only one gun elsewhere, which they believe was used by Mr. Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan — not the three previously reported. And initial reports that the brothers first came to the attention of the police after robbing a 7-Eleven were wrong. The police were called to a gas station convenience store early Friday after a man who said he had been carjacked by the marathon bombers escaped and sought help.

The gun issue is particularly intriguing, as the Daily Mail notes, because media coverage to date has essentially advanced the notion that Dzhokhar was engaged in a firefight with police from inside of the boat before he was apprehended. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis had also apparently said that a firefight unfolded -- and a previous Times piece noted that an M4 rifle was found on the board, Daily Mail reports.

Most notably, if no gun was on the boat, then it's impossible for Dzhokhar to have shot himself; his injuries, in this case, were potentially sustained before he went into hiding (possibly during the gunfight that killed his brother).

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found and brought into custody last Friday as the only living suspect in the Boston bombings that occurred April 15. (Photo Credit: FBI)

If the latest information from authorities is true, the previous gun claims have now been debunked. Again, this paints a very different picture from accounts that previously circulated. Take, for instance, NBC News' coverage from a few days ago about the purportedly showdown that unfolded between Dzhokar and authorities:

Over the course of two hours, several bursts of gunfire could be heard. The police exchanged fire with Tsarnaev, threw flash-bang grenades designed to disorient him and brought a negotiator to the scene as night fell, officials said.

Just before 9 p.m., the wounded Tsarnaev was taken into custody. "He sustained significant blood loss," a law enforcement official at the scene said.

And, as the AP and TheBlaze previously reported, U.S. officials also said Wednesday that physical evidence, including a 9 mm handgun and pieces of a remote-control device commonly used in toys, was recovered from the bombing scene. This showcases that the bombs were potentially controlled by the two suspects from a reasonable distance. The Atlantic adds more details:

Aside from the new details about the shootout, it was also revealed on Wednesday night that the Tsarnaev brothers used a remote control to detonate the bombs on Marathon Monday.  According to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, it was the same kind of remote control used for remote control cars. And according to CBS News, it was bought with drug money. We already knew that Dzhokhar was a pothead and potential dealer, but the latest reports suggest that Tamerlan got in on the action, too. This leads to the natural conclusion that the bombing, somehow, was funded by their drug money. But honestly, it's very tough to tell how they got the money they spent on the bombs.

The Times went to great lengths to document some of the finer details of the events that unfolded on Thursday and Friday. Read the entire post, which extensively highlights the most important moments, here.


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