Boston bombing: Suspect used cell phone to blow up bomb

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with conspiring to use "weapon of mass destruction" . Photo PTI
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with conspiring to use “weapon of mass destruction” . Photo PTI

Boston, Apr 23 (PTI): Chechen-origin teenager Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apparently used his cell phone to blow up the pressure cooker bomb at the Boston Marathon last week that killed three people and wounded nearly 200 others, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in a US court.

In the complaint, the FBI alleges that the suspect appeared calm while there was chaos all around after the blasts at the finish line of the marathon on April 15.

The FBI filed the complaint against 19-year-old Dzhokhar, as he was produced before a district court which temporarily was his hospital room where he is being treated for injuries.

The court fixed May 30 for Dzhokhar’s first hearing in Massachusetts District court.

Dzhokhar is charged with conspiring to use “weapon of mass destruction” and faces death penalty if convicted.

In the 10-page complaint, FBI special agent Daniel Geneck gives the sequence of events and the information to sufficient to establish the requisite probable cause. “It does not include each and every fact known to me,” he said.

Based on the information obtained from the security cameras, Geneck said, the two suspect – Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – were first spotted near the bombing site 11 minute before the first bomb explosion.

While Tamerlan was wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, sunglasses, a white shirt, dark coat and tan pants, his brother was wearing a white baseball cap backwards, a gray hooded sweatshirt, a lightweight black jacket, and dark pants.

Thereafter, the two were seen moving towards the Marathon finish line, which was occupied by thousands of people, which is reflected through various security cameras.

At some point Dzhokhar appears to look at his phone, which is held at approximately waist level, and may be manipulating the phone, Geneck said.

“Approximately 30 seconds before the first explosion, he lifts his phone to his ear as if he is speaking on his cell phone, and keeps it there for approximately 18 seconds. A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion,” the complaint said.

“Virtually every head turns to the east (towards the finish line) and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment and alarm,” Geneck said, adding that Dzhokhar, virtually alone among the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm.

According to the video footage, the two brothers are seen standing about one half block from the restaurant where the bombing appeared.

In another footage, they are seen standing about one half block from the restaurant where the bombing appeared.

Approximately seven minutes before the first explosion, Tamerlan can be seen detaching himself from the crowd and walking east towards the Marathon finish line.

Fifteen seconds later, he can be seen passing directly in front of the Forum Restaurant and continuing in the direction of the location where the first blast occurred.

His knapsack is still on his back, the FBI agent said.

Around 2:45 p.m., Dzhokhar can be seen detaching himself from the crowd and walking east toward the finishing line. He appears to have the thumb of his right hand hooked under the strap of his knapsack and a cell phone in his left hand.

“Approximately 15 seconds later, he can be seen stopping directly in front of the Forum Restaurant and standing near the metal barrier among numerous spectators, with his back to the camera, facing the runners. He then can be seen apparently slipping his knapsack onto the ground,” the FBI agent said, adding that a photograph taken from the opposite side of the street shows the knapsack on the ground at Dzhokhar’s feet.

The Forum Restaurant video shows that Dzhokhar remained in the same spot for approximately four minutes, occasionally looking at his cell phone and once appearing to take a picture with it.

“Thirty seconds before the first explosion, he lifts his phone to his ear as if he is speaking on his cell phone, and keeps it there for approximately 18 seconds. A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion,” he said.

“He glances to the east and then calmly but rapidly begins moving to the west, away from the direction of the finish line. He walks away without his knapsack, having left it on the ground where he had been standing. Approximately 10 seconds later, an explosion occurs in the location where Bomber Two had placed his knapsack,” the FBI agent said.

It was only three days later on April 18 that the FBI published video and photographic images of the two suspect on its web site. Those images were widely rebroadcast by media outlets all over the country and the world.

It was near midnight on April 18, 2013, they received information that an individual carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A victim of the carjacking told law enforcement officials that while he was sitting in his car on a road in Cambridge, a man approached and tapped on his passenger-side window.

When the victim rolled down the window, the man reached in, opened the door, and entered the victim’s vehicle. The man pointed a firearm at the victim and stated, “Did you hear about the Boston explosion?” and “I did that.”

 

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