Man taken hostage after marathon blasts speaks of his terror

Boston car-jack victim tells how he escaped the Tsarnaev brothers after a 90-minute ordeal

New York

Hours after police released photographs of the Boston marathon bombing suspects, a 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur pulled his Mercedes SUV over to the side of the road in suburban Boston, across the Charles river from Cambridge, to answer a text message.

The next 90 minutes were to be the most harrowing of his life, as he was taken hostage by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers seeking to escape the dragnet that covered the whole city.

The car-jacking victim, who asked to be referred to as “Danny”, has spoken for the first time about his ordeal, revealing how the brothers discussed girls, whether anyone still listened to CDs, payments on the stolen car and driving to New York as the FBI searched for them.

It was nearly 11 pm, soon after Sean Collier, an MIT campus police officer, was shot in his car. Only hours earlier, officials had released images showing the brothers at the site of the bombings. They had not been named when an old sedan stopped behind Danny’s SUV and 26-year-old Tamerlan came up to the passenger window. When Danny lowered the window, the suspect reached inside, unlocked the door and climbed in. He was carrying a handgun and told Danny: “Don’t be stupid.” He asked if he had heard about the bombings, and then said: “I did that … And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.”

The suspect asked Danny how much cash he had. When he found it was a mere $45, he told him to drive. Dzhokhar, 19, followed in the sedan.

Speaking to The Boston Globe, Danny said they crossed the Charles and pulled up on a side street in the suburb of Watertown, where the brothers moved heavy objects from the sedan to the Mercedes. When they began driving again, Tamerlan was behind the wheel, with Danny in the passenger seat and Dzhokhar behind him. The hostage attempted to play down his wealth, telling Tamerlan that he was just a student from China who had been there for around a year, and understating the payments on his car. “Oh, that’s why your English is not very good,” Tamerlan said at one point. “OK, you’re Chinese… I’m a Muslim.”

The car stopped again so that Dzhokhar could withdraw money from an ATM. He heard the brothers – immigrants of Chechen origin – converse in a foreign language. Danny heard the word “Manhattan” before he was asked whether his car could be driven to New York.

They drove around the area, leaving Watertown, and Tamerlan asked Danny to switch on the radio. The suspect went through the stations and seemed to be avoiding the news.

He asked if Danny had any CDs, which he hadn’t. They returned to the parked sedan in Watertown and grabbed some things, putting on an instrumental CD in Danny’s car that sounded to him like a call to prayer, according to The Globe.

Once, when Danny’s phone rang, Tamerlan said: “If you say a single word in Chinese, I will kill you right now.” The carjack victim’s chance to escape finally came when the brothers were forced to stop at a filling station in Cambridge because the SUV was running low on fuel. When Dzhokhar headed inside to pay with cash, Danny jumped out before Tamerlan could respond. He ran across to another petrol station, where the attendant dialled 911. Police arrived within minutes, and were soon on the tail of the suspects, who could be tracked using Danny’s iPhone and a satellite system in the SUV.

Tamerlan was killed shortly afterwards. Dzhokhar was captured on Friday night and has since been charged with crimes that could carry the death penalty.

Tsarnaev sent to medical detention site

The surviving Boston Marathon bombings suspect was released today from a civilian hospital and transferred to a federal medical detention centre.

The US Marshals Service said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center overnight and was taken to the Federal Medical Center Devens about 40 miles west of Boston.

The facility, on the decommissioned Fort Devens US Army base, treats federal prisoners and detainees who require specialised long-term medical or mental health care. Tsarnaev, 19, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the throat, and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway.

Tsarnaev and his brother had planned to  blow up the rest of their explosives in Times Square, New York, authorities said.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border