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Boston bombings: Investigators start quizzing suspect

Updated: April 22, 2013, 9:53 PM IST
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Boston bombings: Investigators start quizzing suspect
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can't talk but is able to scribble out written responses, said authorities.

Boston: US investigators on Monday started grilling the lone surviving Chechen-origin Boston bombings suspect after he regained consciousness and was able to scribble out written responses, as authorities were preparing a chargesheet to nail the accused. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awake and responding sporadically in writing to questions, authorities said. Investigators are asking about other cell members and other unexploded bombs, law enforcement sources were quoted by ABC News as saying. Previously officials said Dzhokhar was in no condition to be interrogated.

Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition, with wounds to the neck and throat area, according to sources. He was unable to speak due to serious throat injury.

Federal authorities said the chargesheet against Dzhokar could be filed early next week by the US Attorney General. Investigating agencies, including the FBI, the Boston Police, are busy preparing the chargesheet against Dzhokar, as a senior police official on Monday said they have enough evidence to nail down the suspect.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was pronounced dead on Friday after suffering shrapnel and bullet wounds in a gunfight with police, while his brother Dzhokhar was later arrested in connection with the bombings that killed three people and wounded 180 others. Those involved in preparing the chargesheet said Dzhokar, who was arrested on Friday night, would be charged with terrorism and state murder charges.

The Boston Mayor had told reporters earlier that he could be charged as early as Sunday, but that did not happen. "Information we have is that there was a shot to the throat, and it's questionable whether - when and whether he'll be able to talk again it. It doesn't mean he can't communicate but, right now, I think he's in the condition where we can't get any information from him at all," Senator Dan Coats, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

Meanwhile, Boston Police Chief Ed Davis said the two suspects were not only armed, but also had explosive devices indicating that they were planning other attacks. "I personally believe they were (behind the Boston marathon bombing). We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene, the explosions, the explosive ordinance that was unexploded, and the firepower that they had, that they were going to attack other individuals. That's my belief at this point in time," Devis told CBS News.

"More than 250 rounds of expended ammunition was found at the scene. This was because of a 5 to 10 minute gun battle that occurred there, punctuated by loud explosions, as several explosive devices went off. They were homemade," he said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday said that so far there is no intelligence information that the two brothers had links with any terrorist organisations. At the same time he noted that it would be too early to arrive at any conclusion.

Appearing on various Sunday talk shows, both the Boston Mayor and the Boston City Police Chief said that so far all the evidences indicate that they are lone wolves. "All of the information that I have they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers," Mayor Thomas Menino said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Dzhokar is likely to be sentenced to death. "There is ample evidence, fingerprints, I understand, direct testimony from one of the people that had his legs blown off, that he recognised him. They admitted to the driver of the car that they hijacked that they were the bombers," she was quoted by CNN as saying. "So I think there's going to be a great deal of evidence put together to be able to convict him, and it should likely be a death penalty case under federal law," she said.

First Published: April 22, 2013, 9:53 PM IST
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