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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Timeline: How police caught the Boston bombers

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to the death penalty over the killings.


DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV HAS been sentenced to death over his role in the 2013 bombing of the Boston marathon.

The 21-year-old will die by lethal injection over six of the 30 federal charges he was convicted of. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs went off at the marathon finish line in April 2013.

Here’s how the horrifying events unfolded that day, leading up to the televised manhunt for Tsarnaev and his arrest:

Boston Marathon Explosions One of the blast sites on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon is investigated and guarded by police AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013: At 2.49pm, two bombs go off within 12 seconds of each other near the Boston Marathon finish line, where thousands had gathered to cheer the incoming distance runners.

Three people are killed, including an eight-year-old child, and 264 injured.

The race is suspended as a police dragnet is cast wide to find the perpetrators.

Boston Marathon-Explosions One of the blast sites on Boylston Street AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who immigrated to the United States from Chechnya with his family in 2002, posts on Twitter:

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16: In a city on edge, rumours run rampant.

Police pore over hours of surveillance video and make out two young men, who they would eventually identify as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar, then 19.

Boston Marathon Explosions AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17: The manhunt continues, with police saying publicly that they have a suspect.

THURSDAY, APRIL 18: The FBI releases surveillance images of two male suspects — one wearing a black cap, the other wearing a white cap — and asks the public to help identify them.


Around 10.20pm, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police officer is killed during an attempt by the brothers to steal his firearm.

The MIT police officer was named as 26-year-old Sean Collier.

Boston Marathon Explosions Officials in tactical gear stand guard behind a Boston Police Department barricade near the site of the Boston Marathon explosions AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Around 11pm, the brothers carjack a Mercedes-Benz SUV, force the driver to pull $800 from an ATM machine and force him to drive through the Boston suburbs.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19: The driver slips away during a gas-station stop and alerts the authorities.

Around 12.45am, the SUV is located in the Boston suburb of Watertown.

Boston Bombings Manhunt AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Watertown was sealed off by more than 9,000 police armed with shotguns, assault rifles and other weapons.

In a shoot-out, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is killed and several police officers injured.

The 26-year-old bomber died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds and critical injuries from explosives, it is reported.

Boston Bombings Manhunt Police in tactical gear arrive on an armoured police vehicle as they surround an apartment building AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The younger brother flees. Police describe him as “armed and dangerous”.

“We believe this to be a terrorist, we believe this to be a man who has come here to kill people,” the city police chief told reporters.

For the rest of the day, Boston is on lockdown as 9,000 police officers mount a city-wide search. Public transit is suspended; schools are closed.

The uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers spoke to the media, saying “we’re ashamed. They’re the children of my brother”.

The pair are named by the media as brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, from a Russian region near Chechnya, who had been in the US for about a decade.

screen-shot-2013-04-20-at-01-34-17-490x500 67 Franklin Street, Watertown

Around 6.30pm, a suburban boat-owner saw the cover of his small vessel has been displaced.

He noticed blood, opened the tarp – and discovered that inside the boat was Tsarnaev, bleeding.

He immediately left and called the police, who arrived in force. Gunshots were heard ringing out.

LowellSun / YouTube

A police helicopter picked up Tsarnaev’s heat signature and directed officers to the boat.

After an hour-long stand-off, Tsarnaev was captured by police.

By 8.45pm, police announced on Twitter that Tsarnaev, seriously wounded, has been arrested.

screen-shot-2013-04-20-at-02-05-22 Twitter Twitter

Police told reporters:

We’re exhausted, but we have a victory here tonight.

Tsarnaev was taken into custody.

22 APRIL 2013: While on a hospital bed, Tsarnaev was charged over the bombings. His first hearing was scheduled for that May. He was moved to prison by 26 April.

JUNE 2013: Tsarnaev was indicted on 30 counts, and it was reported he faced the death penalty or life in prison.

JANUARY 2015: In early January of this year, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court and the trial got underway.

tsarnaev-2-624x500 US Attorney's Office US Attorney's Office

APRIL 2015: During the trial, a photo of Tsarnaev giving the finger to a camera was released by prosecutors who described him as “unconcerned”.

MAY 2015: His family described him to the jury as a gentle child, with his aunt Patimat Suleimanova sobbing as she answered questions about her nephew.

15 MAY  2015: After 14 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with their verdict on Tsarnaev’s sentence.

He will die by lethal injection. 

- With reporting from Aoife Barry and AP

Read: BREAKING: Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death>

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