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Watertown, Mass., Resident Wakes To Frightening Shootout


As we've reported, the hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother led masses of police and SWAT teams to Watertown, the Boston suburb west of Cambridge. Last night's confrontation there was dramatic and frightening for many residents, including Kayla DiPaulo. Here's how she described what happened when we spoke earlier this afternoon.

KAYLA DIPAULO: It started, I think, a little bit after midnight. I was in a dead sleep and I just heard shooting, like crazy shooting. And then, I heard this huge explosion. So I called 911 and he's like - the guy on the other line was like - look, you're in a state of emergency. Don't want to freak you out, but there's gunfire going on, he's like, it looks like right outside of your house. He's like, you need to stay inside. Stay away from the doors. Stay away from the windows.

So my whole downstairs, which is where, you know, I sleep on the downstairs loft, so I'm like, well, where do I go where there's no doors or windows? So I just kind of crouched in my doorway just so that there was no windows or anything on the sides of me. And I was looking so I could see my front door from where I was crouched down.

And all you could just hear - like, it wasn't like five shots at a time. It was like five, ten, fifteen shots and then you heard a big boom. So I'm looking at my front door and that's when I saw the bullet. They fired a gun at the house a couple times. There's shell casings in my living room. But I actually saw the bullet go through part of the front door and it went, like, across the front door.

SIEGEL: You mean, you saw the bullet actually flying through the...

DIPAULO: I saw the bullet go through the - and that's what - that's when it really hit me that, like, oh, my god, I thought for a split second maybe somebody was in the house because I heard the bullet in the house. I had no idea what was going on. It was - and then, you just hear like these loud grenades everywhere. And I was on the phone with my mom. She's in Florida. She could hear all the noise in the background. She could hear me scream and I was crying. So it was definitely really, really scary. So a couple hours passed and I saw the cops outside and I said, hey, listen, my house got shot, if you guys want to come in. So I invited them in. They put some cones up around where the shell casings are in my living room. It's just - it's been crazy.

SIEGEL: Your home is now part of a crime scene, I guess.

DIPAULO: My home is part of a crime scene, yes.

SIEGEL: I mean, how long did this firefight seem to go on for? Time can be very hard to judge when you're this upset.

DIPAULO: And you know what, you're so right. It's so hard for me to be able to timestamp anything. It felt like forever, but I mean, might have just been for, you know, five, 10 minutes, maybe. Once all the gunfire stopped and the police were out there, they were walking around, I felt safe, you know, walking around my house.

But around 10:00 today, they must have gotten some sort of tip or they must have seen somebody suspicious about two houses down from me because the cops just came up to me, and he knocked on my door. He physically came inside. He grabbed me by the arm, and he was like: You need to get out of this house now.

And so I grabbed my dog, and he literally, like, dragged me across the street by my arm. He's like this is dangerous; we need to get you out. So I'm across the street with all my neighbors. And all we just see is, like, I'm not exaggerating, like 50 SWAT guys just came barreling down the street with their guns drawn, to this house.

But, I mean, it turns out that that was a false alarm. We were kind of hoping that that was it because then we could rest our heads, you know, we could breathe easy. It's definitely, definitely scary. It was the scariest thing I've ever been through, just hearing the bombs and the shots. It was - it's been crazy.

SIEGEL: Well Kayla DiPaulo, thank you very much for talking with us. It sounds like it's been quite a horrific time you've had for the past several hours.

DIPAULO: Yeah, thank you so much.

SIEGEL: Kayla DiPaolo lives in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where police and the two bombing suspects engaged in a shootout overnight. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.