Surviving Boston Bombing Suspect Charged with Using WMD


Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old surviving suspect in last week's deadly Boston Marathon bombings, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in the United States. The charges were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder in a Justice Department press release.

"Although our investigation is ongoing, today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country," Holder said.

The April 15 bombings that took place close to the Marathon's finish line in quick succession of each other killed three people and injured more than 200. Tsarnaev was captured Friday evening, several hours after a dramatic shootout with police that resulted in the death of his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other accused in the bombings.

A federal magistrate visited Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his hospital room Monday to hold a preliminary hearing. Tsarnaev may face additional charges in a subsequent indictment.

An affidavit in support of the complaint provided detailed the suspects' movements before the explosions based on video footage captured by security cameras. The videos also showed the men placing bombs hidden in knapsacks at the bombing site.

The affidavit said that the suspects tried to escape from the city on April 18 soon after the FBI published video and pictures of them. Close to midnight, the Tsarnaevs carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint in Cambridge, Mass. They demanded money from the victim and used his ATM card to withdraw money before driving to a gas station/convenience store. The victim managed to escape when the men got out of the car.

A short time later, law enforcement officers located the stolen car and pursued the men who threw out two small improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at them. The violent shootout ended with Tamerlan dead. A police officer was killed and another critically wounded in the standoff.

Dzhokhar managed to escape and the car was later founded abandoned with several unexploded IEDs inside it. Dzhokhar was discovered several hours later in a covered boat with severe gunshot wounds on his body and neck. He is in serious but stable condition.

Tsarnaev faces the death penalty if convicted. He will "not be treated as an enemy combatant," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday. "We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions," Carney said.

Read the complaint here. Contributor Steve Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US." Steve also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog and he is the CEO of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.


Abha Shankar writes for The Investigative Project on Terrorism  

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