Five Year Anniversary: The Boston Marathon Bombings


Getty Boston bombings memorial.

On April 15, 2013, Boylston Street in Boston was shaken by two near simultaneous explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. When the smoke cleared 3 people lay dead with hundreds more injured including 16 people that would lose limbs. By April 18th the FBI would narrow down their search to Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Kyrgyz-American brothers of Chechen descent. Boston and America were transfixed on the manhunt for two brothers for the next 30 hours.

1.The Tsarnaev Brothers Were Radicalized


GettyBoston bombing site.

In April of 2002 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his parents arrived in the United States on 90 day tourist visas. Fearing persecution for their Chechen ties, the elder Tsarnaev applied for asylum. Tamerlan was left with an uncle in what was then the Russian Federation and made his way to America 2 years later.

The family obtained permanent legal status in 2007. While Dzhokhar was busying himself as a stand out wrestler at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Tamerlan had devoted himself to his two new passions: his religion and boxing. In 2008 Tamerlan began attending a mosque near his home in Cambridge that has been referred to as having  “brand of Islamic thought that encourages grievances against the West, distrust of law enforcement and opposition to Western forms of government, dress and social
radicals/2101411/) by the non-profit organization  Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

Dzhokhar would later tell the FBI that they were influenced by Youtube lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-Yemeni imareports adl.orgm.

3.A Massive Manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Would Ensue


GettyThe aftermath of the bombing.

After planting the two backpacks that contained the homemade devices the brothers calmly walked away to let the destruction lay in their wake. The remnants of their wrath the only pieces to put together. A lid to a pressure cooker. Nails. Fibers from a backpack. And at least one witness, Jeff Bauman, a double amputee stated: “Bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,” Bloomberg reports.

With the description that Mr. Bauman provided of Tamerlan the FBI was able to identify the older brother and on April 18th released previously unseen photos from Boylston Street of Tamerlan and
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They now had a suspects and the search was on. Upon the release of the photos the brothers began their last few free hours on the run. They began by trying to steal the gun from an MIT campus police officer that ended with the police officers death and a subsequent carjacking in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston.

Under the cover of darkness they entered Watertown at near midnight the 19th of April with an APB out for their car. Patrol Officer Joseph Reynolds spotted them and an armed conflict broke out with three hundred gun shots fired and when their ammunition was exhausted Tamerlan tried unsuccessfully to fend off the ensuing officers by throwing his gun at them. To no avail. Tamerlan was tackled by law enforcement with Dzhokhar retreating to the vehicle and trying to ram the police. In the end his only victim was his brother and inspiration.

At 8:42pm, nearly 100 hours after the blast, the last of the Boston Bombers was taken into custody ending one of the most famous manhunts in American history.

4.Tsarnaev Would Face Trial For The Bombings


GettyThe boat in Watertown where Tsarnaev was found.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with thirty crimes of which he plead not guilty to. These crimes included conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and murder 1. The proceedings began on the 5th of January 2015, nearly 20 months after the mayhem had begun.

Dzhokhar’s counsel had recommended to the jury that he was collateral damage of an overbearing brother with extremist views. The jury was not sympathetic to that claim and on May 15, 2015 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by lethal injection. He is housed at United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility Florence, also known as “The Alcatraz of the Rockies”.

5. The Victims Are Still Recovering


GettyTsarnaev in custody.

“Among the victims are: Two explosives went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, 2013, killing three and wounding 264 people. Sean Collier, 26, an MIT campus police officer, was fatally shot in his patrol car April 18th by the Boston bombers. The three killed by the explosions were 29-year-old Krystle Campbell (left), 8-year-old Martin Richard (center) and 23-year-old Lu Lingzi (right).

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, one of the two brothers responsible for the attacks, was killed soon after. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty April 8, 2015 of multiple counts including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in their deaths and for injuring 264 others at the Boston Marathon’s crowded finish line on April 15, 2013. The unanimous decision to sentence him to death was announced May 15, 2015,” reports

More information on the survivors of the bombing who are in various stages of recovery, go here

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