Federal prosecutors on Sunday were preparing to file charges against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, even as he remained under heavy guard at a hospital amid questions about whether authorities would be able to interrogate him.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was in critical but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the neck, Boston police said Sunday, and federal and local officials said they were unsure he would be able to talk again.
We dont know if well ever be able to question the individual, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday.
The full extent of Tsarnaevs injuries, and whether he suffered them in a gun battle with police more than 12 hours before his capture Friday evening, remained unclear. Officials at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – the same hospital where his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, was pronounced dead Friday after a shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown - referred questions about Dzhokhars condition to the FBI, which declined to comment.
Authorities are eager to question Tsarnaev about his alleged motives in last Mondays bombing, which killed three people, injured more than 170 and rattled the nation more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They also want to determine from him whether any international or domestic terrorist groups were involved. Islamist separatists in the Russian province of Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited last year, Sunday denied any connection to the bombing.
A special team of interrogators from the CIA, FBI and the military is expected to question the suspect. Bostons mayor and police commissioner said Sunday that the brothers appear to have acted alone.
As the shaken city remembered the victims at church services Sunday and Massachusetts prepared to hold a moment of silence today at the time the first bomb went off, a fuller portrait of Tsarnaev emerged, one that authorities described as chilling.
Zach Bettencourt, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth – where Tsarnaev was enrolled – said Tsarnaev casually discussed the bombing with him only a day later. Bettencourt, 20, noticed Tsarnaev sitting on a bench at the gym, listening to his iPod.
When Bettencourt brought up the bombing, he said that Tsarnaev responded, Tragedies like this happen all the time. He said that the two of them then discussed the issue but that he did not remember the exact words of their conversation.
Law enforcement officials confirmed that Tsarnaev went back to school after the marathon bombing, before the FBI released pictures of the two brothers to the world on Thursday and described them as suspects. Tamerlan died after a night of mayhem in which the brothers allegedly carjacked a Mercedes-Benz sport-utility vehicle and fatally shot an MIT police officer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his body bloodied, was discovered by a Watertown resident in a boat kept in his back yard Friday evening, minutes after police announced the lifting of a lockdown that had paralyzed the Boston area. The FBI used a bullhorn for about 25 minutes to try to coax him out and then threw flash-bang grenades. A robot lifted the cover on the boat to make sure there were no explosives inside. Tsarnaev was then taken into custody, weak and bleeding.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Sunday that officials had recovered video that shows the surviving suspect putting his backpack down and moving away from it shortly before it exploded. The video is pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly, Patrick said on NBCs Meet the Press.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is trying to trace the guns the suspects had – at least one handgun and possibly several more. Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas told The Associated Press that neither brother had gun permits allowing them to legally carry firearms. Haas said it was unclear whether either brother applied for a permit.