Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, is being charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against people and property resulting in three deaths and more than 200 injuries.
“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” said U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder in a Monday press release. “We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Tsarnaev is specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday by FBI Special Agent Daniel Genck.
The devices were placed near the metal barriers separating the runners from the spectators and each explosion killed, maimed, burned or wounded many people in addition to damaging public property, according to the complaint.
Using videotape footage from a security camera at the Forum Restaurant on Boylston Street, Genck said in the complaint that he saw Tsarnaev stop in front of the restaurant and then slip his backpack onto the ground at about 2:45 p.m. He stood by his backpack for about four minutes and looked at his cell phone to take a picture.
“Approximately 30 seconds before the first explosion, he lifts his phone to his ear as if he is speaking on his cellphone, and keeps it there for approximately 18 seconds,” Genck wrote in the affidavit. “A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion.”
Genck said in the complaint that Tsarnaev walked away from his backpack and, about 10 seconds later, the second explosion occurred where his backpack was left.
The affidavit does not mention Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killing Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department officer Sean Collier late Thursday night. It continued with the sighting of the Tsarnaev brothers at about midnight when they carjacked an individual at gunpoint.
The victim told police that a man entered his vehicle and stated, “Did you hear about the Boston explosions?” and “I did that.” The man with the gun forced the victim to drive to another location, where they picked up a second man, according to the affidavit.
The two men and the victim drove to a gas station and when the two men got out of the car, the victim escaped. The stolen vehicle was located in Watertown by law enforcement and as the men drove away, a violent gun exchange ensued between the police and the Tsarnaev brothers, according to the complaint.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was wounded, taken into custody and later died.
After evading police for nearly 24 hours, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found in a covered boat in Watertown. Tsarnaev was eventually removed from the boat and searched. A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth identification card, credit cards and other forms of identification were found in his pockets. He had injuries and gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hand, according to the affidavit.
The FBI searched Tsarnaev’s dormitory at UMass Dartmouth and seized a large pyrotechnic, a black jacket and a white hat of the same appearance as those seen in photographs and videos of him at the Boston Marathon, according to the complaint.
“A preliminary examination of the remains of the explosive devises that were used at the Boston Marathon revealed that they were low-grade explosives that were housed in pressure cookers,” Genck wrote in the complaint. “Both pressure cookers were of the same brand. The pressure cookers also contained metallic BBs and nails.”
Despite several members of Congress asking for Tsarnaev to be tried as an enemy combatant, Jay Carney, spokesman for the White House, said in a press briefing Monday he would not be given that status.
“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant,” Carney said. “We will process this terrorist through our system of justice. The system has repeatedly proven that it can successfully handle the threat that we continue to face. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions.”
Carney said the FBI officials did everything they could when they investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 as a possible terrorist threat.
“It is clear from that [investigation] that the FBI followed up on the information that it received about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother,” he said. “They investigated it thoroughly and did not find terrorist activity, domestic or foreign.”