BOSTON - WATERTOWN, Mass. - It's been far from a normal Friday in Boston and the surrounding area, as thousands of officers with rifles and armored vehicles swarm the streets. They're continuing the search for a 19-year-old college student who is wanted in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Boston and some of its suburbs are still at a virtual standstill. Public transit systems have been idle today, and people in Boston were told to stay where they are. Several area colleges and universities were locked down. And the Red Sox and Bruins have postponed their games tonight.
A man staying at a veteran's shelter in the shadow of City Hall said the scene was "creepy" -- with helicopters flying overhead, and authorities with automatic weapons in the streets.
Residents and tourists alike were frustrated and angry by the shutdown.
One man visiting from New York -- wandering the empty plaza beside a statue of Samuel Adams -- says it took him an hour and a half to find a cup of coffee. A couple from Dallas had been hoping to visit the Museum of Fine Art, Fenway Park and other landmarks -- but instead were having a hard time just finding a restaurant that was open.
From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead and armored vehicles rumbled through the streets. Authorities also searched trains.
"We believe this man to be a terrorist," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people."
The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and instantly raising the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Chechnya is the home of an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, but its militants have never been known to export violence to the West.
Investigators in the Boston case have shed no light on the motive for the bombing and have said it is unclear whether it was the work of domestic or international terrorists or someone else entirely with an unknown agenda.
As officers fanned out across the Boston area, Bryce Acosta, 24, came out of his Cambridge home with his hands up.
"I had like 30 FBI guys come storm my house with assault rifles," he said. They yelled, "Is anybody in there?" and began searching his house and an adjacent shed, leaving after about 10 minutes.
The endgame — at least for Suspect No. 1 — came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of the two young men at the finish line and appealed to the public for help in identifying and capturing them.
State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said police realized they were dealing with the bombing suspects based what the two men told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt overnight.
Tsarni, the men's uncle, told The Associated Press that the brothers traveled here together from Russia. He called his nephews "losers" and said they had struggled to settle themselves in the U.S. and ended up "thereby just hating everyone."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the school said. The campus closed down along with colleges around the Boston area.
Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is "a true angel."
He said his son was studying medicine. "He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here," the father said.
The city of Cambridge announced two years ago that it had awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was listed as a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a highly regarded public school whose alumni include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and NBA star Patrick Ewing.
The images released by the FBI depict the two young men walking one behind the other near the marathon's finish line. Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said Suspect No. 2 in the white hat was seen setting down a bag at the site of the second of two deadly explosions.
Authorities said surveillance tape recorded late Thursday showed Suspect No. 2 during a robbery of a convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of MIT, where a university police officer — 26-year-old Sean Collier — was shot to death while responding to a report of a disturbance.
From there, authorities said, the two men carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge. The man was not injured.
The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police. A transit police
officer was severely wounded, authorities said.
Doctors at a Boston hospital where Tamerlan Tsarnaev died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities gave no details on how his younger brother escaped.
Watertown resident Kayla Dipaolo, 25, was waiting for a bus that was to evacuate her and others from their neighborhood.
She said she was woken up overnight by gunfire and a large explosion that sounded "like it was right next to my head ... and shook the whole house." She was looking at the front door when a bullet came through the side paneling. SWAT team officers were running all over her yard, she said.
"It was very scary," she said. "There are two bullet holes in the side of my house and by the front door there is another."