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April 19, 2013

Gunfire precedes finding him in a boat in suburban backyard

BOSTON — Police pinned down the Boston Marathon terror suspect in a small boat in a suburban Watertown backyard Friday night, exchanging gunfire before bringing him out wounded but alive, ending a day-long massive manhunt.

"We got him," tweeted Boston Mayor Thomas Manino.

The capture occurred soon after authorities held a news conference to announce the suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, had eluded the dragnet operation launched when he fled from a police shootout late Thursday night.

His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, also a suspect, died in the shootout that featured 200 rounds of gunfire and the tossing of homemade pipe bombs at police.

The  bloody, chaotic drama unfolded after the FBI late Thursday afternoon released video and photo images of the suspects from a surveillance camera at the marathon finish line sites where two bombs exloded Monday, killing three and wounding 176, many gravely.

Heavily-armed police surrounded the suspect in the backyard boat, convincing him to surrender. Bomb squads were called in to make sure he was not carrying a hidden bomb. Once police were sure that wasn't the case, he was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Authorities said he was covered in blood when he emerged from the boat.

Officials lifted an emergency lockdown of metropolitan Boston at 6 p.m. Friday, 18 hours after it was imposed to protect the public safety. Thousands of residents were told to stay in their homes and lock their doors.

The announcement allowed businesses to reopen and subways, taxis, commuter trains and buses to roll. They had been closed down throughout the day, turning Boston into a ghost city on a day when streets are normally choked with traffic and sidewalks with shoppers.

State Police Col. Timothy Alben told a news conference shortly before the suspect's capture that a door-to-door search for him in a 20-block neighborhood of Watertown on the western edge of Boston had been fruitless.

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