BY NANORE BARSOUMIAN
From the Armenian Weekly
Genocide Commemoration at State House Cancelled
WATERTOWN, Mass.—On April 19, residents of Watertown woke up to a state of emergency, with SWAT teams going door to door searching for one of the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings. The suspect, identified today as 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev of Cambridge, went on a violent rampage together with the second suspect—identified as his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlane—terrorizing Cambridge and Watertown.
After an MIT police officer was gunned down around 11:45 pm on April 18, police went on a wild manhunt. After carjacking, the suspects drove to Watertown, where police caught up with them, but not before they dropped bags of what reports described as grenades. After exchanging gunfire, Tamerlane was shot. According to witnesses, he had an explosive device strapped to his chest, which then exploded. He was then reported as dead. Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center confirmed that he suffered from blast wounds.
The younger brother, Dzhokhar, fled in a carjacked black SUV. According to reports, he then abandoned the vehicle a quarter of a mile away. He is believed to be armed with a rifle, and possibly explosives.
Throughout the night and into the morning, TV news reports showed police and SWAT team activity in an area densely dotted with Armenian shops, schools, and churches on Mt. Auburn Street and Nichols Ave.
SWAT teams, police officers, and the FBI went door to door in Watertown trying to locate the suspect. ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Michelle Hagopian who resides next-door to the St. Stephens Armenian Church and around the corner from the Hairenik building where the Armenian Weekly offices are located, said she could see the SWAT teams approaching from her window.
“I woke up at 6:15 am to a bunch of missed calls and texts from family and friends. My immediate thought was something bad happened back home in Granite City. I fell asleep just before 1 a.m. and heard and saw a swarm of police cars flying down Nichols Ave. but didn’t think anything of it until I woke up and caught up on the news. This is all in my backyard.” said Hagopian.
Authorities pressed for a total lockdown in the area, asking that residents in Watertown and the surrounding cities and towns including Newton, Belmont, Waltham, Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline remain indoors. All public transportations have been suspended as well, and businesses have been advised to remain closed. The Armenian Genocide Commemoration event to be held at the Massachusetts State House has also been cancelled.
According to news sources, the brothers are originally from Chechnya, residing in the U.S. for the past decade.
The brothers are believed to be the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings, which occurred on April 15 and took the lives of three and injured over 160 others.