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Boston area residents cheer capture of suspect: 'America! Woo!'

April 20, 2013|By Monte Morin, Michael A. Memoli and Marisa Gerber
  • People pour onto Hemingway Street in Boston's Fenway neighborhood to celebrate the capture of the second marathon bombing suspect.
People pour onto Hemingway Street in Boston's Fenway neighborhood… (Kayana Szymczak, Getty…)

Awakened by gunfire the night before, then ordered to stay indoors throughout the day, residents of Watertown, Mass., erupted in loud applause and cheers Friday night as authorities announced that they had captured Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Cooped up indoors for almost 24 hours, residents flooded area streets to cheer the many federal, state and local law enforcement officers as they drove the suspect away in an ambulance. Bystanders waved and applauded each vehicle as a seemingly endless caravan of police cruisers and utility vehicles rolled through a neighborhood that was ground zero for an unprecedented area manhunt.

Some residents waved American flags while others hugged and shed tears as they recounted the last tense moments leading up to Tsarnaev’s capture in a boat stored in a neighbor’s backyard.

A car zipped by and someone yelled: “America! Woo!”

As others celebrated, Lori Toye, who lives next door to where the dramatic capture unfolded, was still wide-eyed from all that had happened.

"I looked at that boat all day," she said, shaking her head. "Who knew he was right there?" 

It wasn't long before the celebrations began to look like a New Year's party as residents throughout the Boston area rejoiced.

Michael McAlone and his 17-year-old son, Kellen, who were visiting Boston from Dallas because Kellen is considering playing football at Boston College, were eating at Ristorante Limoncello Friday evening when word spread that authorities had Tsarnaev in custody.

Soon the city’s unofficial anthem “Sweet Caroline” played overhead. 

When Bill Jacques heard about the capture, he sped down to the memorial erected on Boylston Street, where three people were killed and more than 170 wounded in the twin blasts. Jacques, who works in finance, has run the marathon eight times. As the wind lashed paper tributes and Boston T-shirts that had been tied to barricades, he placed a bouquet of yellow roses and stared down the empty street.

"I already signed up to run next year," he said.

Near the bombing site, a steady stream of mostly college-age curiosity seekers stopped to look at what one officer reminded a man was a "federal crime scene."

Many people stopped to applaud and thank the three officers on duty.  

Gabrielle Himel, an 18-year-old Boston University student, offered to buy coffee for one of the officers, A. Santiago.

Santiago said it's been that way since he started his overnight shift at 9 p.m.

"I didn't think it was going to be like this. But I'm glad,” he said, adding that he had worked the scene Monday night after the bombing. He described it as "gloomy."

The celebrations capped a 24-hour period of rapid developments: the publication of photos of the 19-year-old suspect and his brother, Tamerlan, 26; a gun battle in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed; and a manhunt throughout the greater Boston area. Authorities had barely lifted an order that residents remain behind locked doors and stated that they had not found the suspect when a small, tree-lined neighborhood echoed with the sound of gunfire or explosions.

Finally, officials released the good news via social media.

“CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over,” read a message the Boston Police Department sent out on Twitter. “The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

Signs along Interstate 90 spelled out a message in all caps: “We are Boston strong.”

Michael Mishak and Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed reporting from Boston and Ashley Powers from Watertown, Mass.


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