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Police Have Violent Confrontation With Bombing Suspects


On an astonishing Friday at the end of an astonishing week it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene. We are following events as they unfold this morning in Boston. In just one of several violent events overnight, law enforcement authorities confronted two men they believe to be responsible for the bombings of the Boston Marathon. It was a violent encounter.


INSKEEP: We're hearing the sound of gunfire being exchanged in Watertown, Massachusetts. During that shootout one of the suspects was shot and later died at a hospital. A police officer was also shot, reported to be in critical condition. Not the only officer shot in a series of violent incidents. The other suspect got away, is said to be at large. Here's Massachusetts State Police Colonel Tim Alben.

COLONEL TIM ALBEN: We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.

GREENE: And we have many reporters, correspondents following these events as they unfold. Joining us in the studio now NPR's Tom Gjelten. And, Tom, let's be very clear here. The man the officer just was describing there that we heard, the one he says is believed to be a terrorist, which suspect is he?

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: Well, David, there were two suspects identified by the FBI yesterday as the men they believed to be responsible for the marathon bombings.


GJELTEN: They called them Suspect One and Suspect Two. Suspect One, who was identified as wearing a black hat and was thought to be responsible for the first bombing, is the one who has been killed. Suspect Two, identified as wearing a white hat and believed to be responsible for the second bombing, is the one who got away.

GREENE: OK. And these two suspects are the faces that we've seen in these photos that the police have released and that a lot of Americans saw yesterday. They are certain that these are the people who were involved in the bombing at the marathon. Or how certain are they?

GJELTEN: In describing these events last night at the - we're going to go through the sequence of events, but in describing these events the police there described these men, called these men Suspect One and Suspect Two, using the same terms from yesterday's briefing. There was no doubt in their mind, no doubt in what they said, no uncertainty in what they said, that these are the same two people that they've been looking for.

GREENE: And we'll of course be learning more about these men, I presume.

INSKEEP: And let's go through that chronology as you mentioned, Tom Gjelten. What happened first, what happened next?

GJELTEN: As far as we know, the first thing that happened was a robbery at a 7-Eleven.

GREENE: Right.

GJELTEN: And there was a surveillance photo captured there and the police later identified the man in the surveillance photo as Suspect Number Two.

INSKEEP: The guy in the white hat.

GJELTEN: The guy in the white hat. Following subsequent to that, there was an encounter at MIT, the university in Cambridge, where a police officer was killed. And we understand that his - the two suspects stole his cruiser, got away.


GJELTEN: Then there was a carjacking. They carjacked a Mercedes Benz SUV. The owner of that car got away and as a result of that, there was an armed pursuit and that's when you saw this violent encounter. Now, in the course of that violent encounter, that shootout, the Suspect One was shot and killed, apparently - it's not clear where he was shot and killed but there was a later press conference at a hospital that said that he died of multiple gunshot wounds and blast wounds.

They had explosives with them. They are said to have thrown explosives out the car window and in the street. Some of those are still lying there. But apparently one of those exploded close enough that he, Suspect One, had blast wounds.

GREENE: And people in Watertown, Massachusetts, which is a suburb, I understand, seven or eight miles outside of Boston, I mean, they heard these explosions overnight. Tom, now, the Massachusetts police colonel is describing the suspect who is at large, and we should say there is still a manhunt underway, describing him as a terrorist who came here to kill people. How - what did he mean by that?

GJELTEN: We don't know what he meant by that, David, and that's certainly one of the questions that we're going to be anxious to find out over the course of the day. Now, one of these suspects is dead. They have his body. I can't believe it will be very long before they are able to say definitively or know definitively exactly who that individual is.

INSKEEP: Although let's remind people, Dina Temple-Reston, our counterterrorism correspondent, was telling us earlier this morning they don't have a name of either of these guys, even though they have images of both of these guys.

GJELTEN: Well, they -

INSKEEP: They may have soon.

GJELTEN: As I said, soon -

INSKEEP: Yeah, but they don't yet.

GJELTEN: Events are changing so quickly.


GJELTEN: One thing I want to underscore that you said, David, this suspect, Suspect Number Two, is still at large and it's a very dangerous situation in Watertown. We have just found out that the subway system in Massachusetts - in Boston, excuse me, has been shut down out of concern for public safety.

GREENE: Which is an indication of how serious this situation remains...

GJELTEN: Exactly.

GREENE: ...in Watertown and the entire Boston area. NPR's Tom Gjelten. Thanks a lot.

GJELTEN: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
Tom Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.