BOSTON -- Blood pooled in the street. The air was thick with smoke. Debris from explosions lay all around. Car alarms rang out, set off by shock waves from a pressure cooker bomb. A police officer lay near death, close to bleeding out.
Testimony Monday from a Watertown, Massachusetts, police officer in the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev conjured chaotic images of a heated gun battle early April 19, 2013, four days after the marathon bombing.
Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, arrived in Watertown in two cars after a Chinese engineer they carjacked had escaped. Three Watertown officers described how the brothers launched an attack on a quiet residential street soon after they were spotted.
"One was throwing like a baseball,” said Watertown Sgt. John MacLellan, demonstrating how Tamerlan hurled homemade pipe bombs with an overhand pitch.
“The other one was being thrown like a hook shot over the head,” he said, referring to Dzhokhar’s bomb-throwing technique.
"I saw that it was pretty serious and I wanted to get my kid,” resident James Floyd testified, saying he carried his newborn son to the rear of the house, away from the violence unfolding outside his window. “I saw guns firing and people screaming.”
Tamerlan died in the fight. He’d been shot several times, yet continued battling three officers trying to handcuff him. Dzhokhar plowed into him with a stolen Mercedes SUV while apparently trying to hit the officers.
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“I saw Tamerlan get stuck in the rear wheel well,” said Joseph Reynolds, a Watertown patrolman.
The collision slowed Dzhokhar, but he soon sped off and vanished into the night, only to be found hours later after a huge door-to-door manhunt.
Jurors heard testimony about transit officer Rick Donohue, who’d been shot by friendly fire in the standoff and nearly bled to death in the street.
Donohue “could look right through you,” while cops performed CPR, said Reynolds. “It looked like he knew he was going to die soon.”
But Donohue didn’t die. Jurors heard testimony from an emergency room doctor about measures to revive him.
Donohue was “essentially dead” for 45 minutes, Dr. Heather Studley testified, saying that his heart had stopped working and there was almost no blood left in his body. The hospital gave him 28 pints of blood before he went into surgery. The average person has 10 pints of blood, she said.
Earlier on Monday, jurors were taken to an undisclosed location in South Boston to examine the recreational motorboat where Tsarnaev hid before his capture.
The SlipAwayII had been hit with at least 108 bullets, according to two reporters who’d been permitted to see it. It’s possible that officers had shot it many more times than that, according to reporters for the The Associated Press and WBUR radio, who had seen the boat.
The reporters said they saw part of a note that Dzhokhar had carved into wooden panels in the boat.
“Stop killing our innocent civilians,” it said in part.
Jurors had previously seen photos of a confession Dzhokhar wrote on panels in the boat.
Later, they heard testimony about the massive manhunt that ultimately found Tsarnaev. The search shut down regional mass transit and much of greater Boston for a day.
“I believe every law enforcement agency in the area was there,” said Massachusetts State Police Maj. Frank Hughes, who saw Tsarnaev taken away. “I saw him going by on a stretcher.”
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