BOSTON—“Let’s Go Boston!” crowds chanted. “USA, USA!”
Noisy celebrations erupted on the streets of suburban Boston late Friday after the second suspected bomber of the city’s famed marathon was arrested.
Crowds lining streets cheered and applauded police as they packed up equipment and drove away from the house in the suburban town of Watertown where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was found.
There were also festivities around Boylston Street in central Boston where two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the marathon finish line on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others.
Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in a back garden in Watertown, shortly after authorities had acknowledged that they feared the teenager had gotten away from the huge manhunt they had set up.
“It has been so tense all week,” said neighbor Susan Nolan. “I was so nervous when I heard that the police were planning to pull out and he had not been caught,” Nolan added.
Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, 26, was also accused of planting the bombs. He was killed in a shootout with police during a high-speed chase early Friday.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this would result in a shootout in Watertown,” said Sheamus McGovern, who was among the crowd of people gathered outside Mount Auburn Hospital, where Tsarnaev was taken after his capture.
During the getaway attempt, the brothers killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology policeman and severely wounded another officer, authorities said. The younger brother managed to escape and was found in the boat about a kilometer away hours later.
McGovern had been startled overnight on Friday when he heard “what sounded like firecrackers, last night after one, and then pure bedlam.” He could hear the helicopters overhead all day.
“It’s just a huge relief to be able to get outdoors. Another day of that, I don’t want to start getting angry,” he said.
‘We got him’
The jubilation was widespread. The mayor of Boston, which was largely paralyzed during the manhunt on Friday, tweeted, “We got him!”
And at the home of the New York Mets, fans leapt to their feet and cheered when the news spread during a game against the Washington Nationals.
Hundreds of people marched down Commonwealth Avenue, chanting “USA” and singing the Red Sox anthem “Sweet Caroline” as they headed toward Boston Common.
Police blocked traffic along part of the street to allow for the impromptu parade.
Paying their respects
Earlier, the mood was somber. On Boylston Street, three blocks from the site of the marathon explosions on Monday, several dozen people gathered almost in complete silence. Some were crying.
Boston University student Aaron Wengertsman, 19, wrapped himself in an American flag as a silent crowd gathered. He was on the marathon route a kilometer from the finish line when the bombs exploded.
“I’m glad they caught him alive,” Wengertsman said. “I thought people might be more excited, but it’s humbling to see all these people paying their respects.”
Nearby, 25-year-old lawyer Beth Lloyd-Jones said it felt like she had her city back. She was blocks away from the blast in her south end home on Monday.
“That could have been any one of us,” she said of the victims. “Now I feel a little safer.”
Bathed in the flashing lights from Kenmore Square’s iconic rooftop Citgo sign, Boston University juniors Brendan Hathaway and Sam Howes high-fived strangers as they walked down the street.
“This was like our first opportunity to really be outside without feeling like there was imminent danger,” said Hathaway, a mechanical engineering student. “It was close to home for me.”
In Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, where 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the bombing, lived, people set off fireworks on Friday night to celebrate.
First posted 12:05 am | Sunday, April 21st, 2013