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Boston cops who cuffed bomb suspect: 'No time to be afraid'

Transit police SWAT officers who made the boat arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detail the dramatic events that ended the hunt for the alleged Boston Marathon bomber.

The Boston transit cop who put the cuffs on marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said it was a "good feeling" to arrest him — and later deliver the news to an officer gravely wounded in a firefight.

"We got him," Patrolman Saro Thompson said he told fellow cop Richard Donahue when he visited him in the hospital Monday.

Donahue, 33, was shot early Friday during a clash with the suspect and his older brother in Watertown, Mass. Tsarnaev, 19, escaped but was spotted in a boat in a backyard as dusk approached.

Transit SWAT officers arrived at the scene after Tsarnaev, who had also been wounded in the earlier gun battle, had already fired on other cops.

An FBI negotiator had convinced the accused bomber to surrender, but Thompson and other team members said they weren't sure he would do it.

Mass. State Police via Reuters

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is searched by law enforcement officers after his arrest in Watertown, Mass.

"We had no idea if the boat was rigged with explosives," Patrolman Jeff Campbell said at a press conference Monday evening. "He could have done anything."

When they began moving in, they could see their target lying on his side in the boat, one leg and one arm hanging out of it, possibly unconscious.

They were about 10 to 15 yards away when Tsarnaev suddenly sat straight up.

"You don't really have time to be afraid," Sgt. Sean Reynolds recalled.

"At a time like that, training kicks in," Thompson added. "We don't have emotion going into something like that."

Thankfully, the suspect put both his hands up, and when the cops saw they were empty, they ran to him.

"We pulled him down and put the cuffs on him," said Thompson, the arresting officer of record in an operation that involved hundreds of cops over the course of the day.

Authorities say Tsarnaev had wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand.

"I don't think he had the energy to say anything," Thompson said. "He was going in and out of consciousness."


Tsarnaev was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, where he was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction for the double-bombing that killed three people and wounded 170.

Donahue was at Mount Auburn Hospital, slowly improving. Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan said he was breathing on his own but "there is a long road ahead."

The SWAT team said they were glad they could tell him that the surviving suspect -- his brother was killed in the gun battle with Donahue and others -- was in custody.

"It's a good feeling ... to know what happened to one of our officers and to put the cuffs on the guy and taken him down," Thompson said.

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