May 3, 2013

Boston bomb suspect died of gunshots, blunt trauma

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso, a funeral director said Friday.

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Massachusetts State Police walk out of the woods of The Smith Neck Farm in Dartmouth, Mass. on Friday, May 3, 2013 as federal, state and local authorities on Friday searched the woods near the UMass-Dartmouth campus as part of the marathon investigation. (AP Photo/The Standard-Times, John Sladewski)

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A vehicle believed to be carrying the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev backs into an underground garage at the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home in North Attleborough, Mass., on Thursday.

AP

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Worcester funeral home owner Peter Stefan has 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body and read details from his death certificate. The certificate cites Tsarnaev's "gunshot wounds of torso and extremities" and lists the time of his death as 1:35 a.m. on April 19, four days after the deadly bombing, Stefan said.

Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with authorities who had launched a massive manhunt for him and his brother, ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago. Police have said he ran out of ammunition before his younger brother dragged his body under a vehicle while fleeing.

Tsarnaev's family on Friday was making arrangements for his funeral as investigators searched the woods near a college attended by 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured less than a day after his brother's death.

The funeral parlor in Worcester is familiar with Muslim services and said it will handle arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose body was released by the state medical examiner Thursday night.

The body initially was taken to a North Attleborough funeral home, where it was greeted by about 20 protesters. Stefan, owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, an hour's drive west of Boston, said everybody deserves a dignified burial service no matter the circumstances of his or her death and he is prepared for protests.

"My problem here is trying to find a gravesite. A lot of people don't want to do it. They don't want to be involved with this," said Stefan, who said dozens of protesters gathered outside his funeral home, upset with his decision to handle the funeral. "I keep bringing up the point of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh or Ted Bundy. Somebody had to do those, too."

Meanwhile, two U.S. officials said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators that he and his brother initially considered setting off their bombs on July Fourth.

Boston police said they planned to review security procedures for the Independence Day Boston Pops concert and fireworks display, which draws a crowd of more than 500,000 annually and is broadcast to a national TV audience. Authorities plan to look at security procedures for large events held in other cities, notably the massive New Year's Eve celebration held each year in New York City's Times Square, Massachusetts state police spokesman David Procopio said.

Gov. Deval Patrick said everything possible will be done to assure a safe event.

"I think the most important thing is that we got them, and there's investigation continuing about where the other leads may lead," he said. "I can tell you, having been thoroughly briefed, that the law enforcement at every level is pursuing everything."

As part of the bombing investigation, federal, state and local authorities were searching the woods near the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student. Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, could not say what investigators were looking for but said residents should know there is no threat to public safety.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard, faces a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. Three of his college classmates were arrested Wednesday and accused of helping after the bombing to remove a laptop and backpack from his dormitory room before the FBI searched it.

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