Tsarnaev’s 20-year-old brother, whose name has not yet been released, also a suspect, was killed Friday morning in a confrontation with law enforcement, authorities said. Both Tsarnaev brothers are believed to have been in the country for more than a year, the official said.
The FBI is working to formally connect the men involved in mayhem that began at 10:30 p.m. local time yesterday to the bombing suspects, according to a federal official who asked not to be identified in discussing the probe.
Images released by the agency Thursday showed one suspect wearing a black hat, and the other a white hat.
“This situation is grave,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben told reporters. “We believe these are the same individuals that are responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday.”
Police are conducting a house-to-house search in the Watertown area for the second man, whom they referred to as the “white hat” suspect, Alben said.
Mass transit in the Boston area was shut down, Harvard University closed its doors, and the public was told by police to stay inside to avoid the suspect, who was described as armed and dangerous.
Along with Harvard and MIT, other Boston-area colleges reported closures Friday morning including Boston University, Boston College, Simmons College, the Berklee College of Music, University of Massachusetts Boston and Suffolk University. The Boston area includes at least 85 colleges and universities that employ more than 70,000, according to a 2009 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in higher education and health services was 34 percent greater in Boston than the rest of the country, according to the report.
Boston is still coming to grips with the April 15 attack on the city’s annual marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170. The violence overnight erupted with a convenience store robbery, then escalated to the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer and the carjacking of a Mercedes SUV.
As local authorities pursued the suspects, at least one of the individuals tried to hurl explosive devices at police, according to the federal official.
At that point, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the manhunt.
When police confronted the suspects, a gun battle ensued. A second officer, from the transit police, was shot and is in serious condition, according to David Procopio, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman. As the chase continued through Watertown, the FBI released two additional images of the men it said were tied to the marathon bombing.
President Barack Obama was briefed overnight by his counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, about the events in Boston and Watertown, according to a White House official who commented on condition of not being identified.
Police brought one of the suspects, an adult male with multiple gunshot wounds and an injury consistent with an explosion, to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at 1:20 a.m., Dr. Richard Wolfe, chief of emergency medicine, told reporters at a news conference held with the hospital’s chief executive officer, Dr. Kevin Tabb.
The patient, whose name Tabb wouldn’t release, was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m. local time after efforts to resuscitate him failed.
Beth Israel cared for 24 of the injured from the bombings. Twelve remain in the hospital, one of them in serious condition, Tabb said.
Dr. David Schoenfeld, who worked on the injured male early Friday morning before he died, told reporters he was home in Watertown last night catching up on paperwork. When he heard the gunfire and explosions outside, he headed to the hospital to help with what he assumed were casualties headed to Beth Israel.
Andrew Kitzenberg, a Watertown resident, said he witnessed from his bedroom window a confrontation between two men in a black SUV and police.
“There were two shooters with handguns,” he told MSNBC. They also had “what seemed to be grenades” and “what looked to be a pressure cooker bomb,” referring to the type of explosive device that the marathon attackers are thought to have used.
As an explosion went off, one of the shooters ran toward officers, and “went down,” Kitzenberg said. The second shooter got in the SUV and “floored it” in the direction of the officers.
Police had issued warnings over their radio about “multiple explosive devices.” People in the area were told to stay off mobile phones to avoid setting off any potential bombs. At least one loud explosion was heard.
Friday morning, police carrying assault rifles swept through Watertown, where people were warned to stay inside their homes. A message from state police on the Twitter social network urged residents not to open their doors unless it’s an identifiable law enforcement officer.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has been shut down, Boston police said, as officers continue to hunt for the suspect who escaped during a gun battle in Watertown.
Police streamed into the area from many local towns, as did law-enforcement officers from the FBI, transit authority and the National Guard. Multiple ambulances were standing by.
Reports of chases and sightings in nearby areas sent streams of police cars careering through the narrow streets. Officers converged with spotlights and guns drawn.
Watertown resident Larry Victor described the scene: “Tons and tons and tons of gunfire. Explosions. What a wild event right here in Watertown. I wasn’t about to walk out in the middle of a gun battle.”
One man in Watertown was ordered by police to strip naked and then taken into custody. Police had surrounded the man with their guns drawn, ordered him to the ground and shouted. “Drop your underwear!”
It was not immediately known whether the man had any involvement in the overnight violence or the marathon bombing.
“Our daughter woke us up and said there were a lot of gunshots,” said one witness, Scott Price.
The family heard multiple gunshots, he said. “You could smell the gunpowder.” Price’s wife, Anne, said they heard three explosions. “It was very frightening,” she said. “Our daughter was very scared.”
Shortly before 2 a.m. local time, a half dozen Boston and state police, some carrying assault rifles, ran past a group of construction workers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, across the street from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, yelling “active shooter, active shooter” and urging the workers to get inside, said Michael Hartley, one of the workers. The police ran toward Children’s Hospital, Hartley said.
At Beth Israel, city and state police cruisers, their lights flashing, stood by. A state police officer shooed a reporter off the hospital grounds, declining to answer questions.
The MIT officer who was shot Thursday night was responding to reports of a disturbance on campus, according to a statement from Middlesex Acting District Attorney Michael Pelgro. The officer, who wasn’t identified, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Pelgro said.
Gunshots were heard on the campus at about 10:48 p.m. local time last night near the Ray and Maria Stata Center, and people have been asked to stay clear of the area, according to a statement posted on the university’s website. MIT later issued an all-clear.
Officers from state and local law enforcement units were on the campus shooting scene, along with some personnel wearing FBI jackets. Two police dogs were seen sniffing around a building marked the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
About 20 police vehicles with lights flashing were seen along Vassar Street at MIT, which was cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape. A police boat with lights flashing was patrolling the nearby Charles River, and a helicopter hovered over the campus.
The Cambridge Police Department issued a message of condolences through a posting on the Twitter social network.
“Our thoughts & prayers are with the officer’s family & our brothers & sisters at the #MIT Police,” the Cambridge police said.