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
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: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash