Federal Grand Jury Returns 30-Count Indictment Related to Boston Marathon Explosions and Murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier
A federal grand jury returned a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev for his alleged role in using weapons of mass destruction at the Boston Marathon to kill three individuals and maim or seriously injure many others, as well as for using a firearm to intentionally kill Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Police Officer Sean Collier.
Tsarnaev, aka “Jahar Tsarni”, 19, a U.S. citizen residing in Cambridge, Mass., was charged today by indictment with the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy; bombing of a place of public use resulting in death and conspiracy; malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death; carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce by threats or violence; and aiding and abetting.
“This indictment is the result of exemplary cooperation between federal prosecutors and a wide range of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate the horrific attacks on the Boston Marathon two months ago,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The Department is firmly committed to achieving justice on behalf of all who were affected by these senseless acts of violence. And today’s action proves our unyielding resolve to hold accountable – to the fullest extent of the law – anyone who would threaten the American people or attempt to terrorize our great cities. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners, the FBI, the Department's National Security Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and every investigator, agent, officer, attorney, analyst, and support staff member whose courage and commitment continues to make our communities and our nation safer.”
“Today’s indictment is the result of the dedicated and collective efforts of law enforcement and intelligence partners, working with a sense of urgency and purpose to find those responsible for these deadly attacks,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. “These continuing efforts reflect the pursuit of justice for those who lost their lives, and for the scores of individuals who were injured.”
“Today’s charges reflect the serious and violent nature of the events that occurred on April 15th and the tragic series of events that followed,” said Carmen Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. “The defendant’s alleged conduct forever changed lives. The victims, their families and this community have shown extraordinary strength and resilience in the face of this senseless violence, and it is with the hundreds of injured, as well as Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean in mind that we proceed to ensure that justice is served in this case.”
“Our hearts go out to the victims of these horrendous acts of violence, and our gratitude to the courageous law enforcement officers who have given so much to protect the people of Boston and the United States,” said John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “We remain committed to obtaining justice in this matter and will continue to work side by side with our partners throughout the law enforcement and intelligence communities to protect the American people from future harm.”
The indictment alleges that beginning no later than February 2013 and continuing until Tsarnaev was apprehended on April 19, 2013, Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan conspired to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against people, property and places of public use. Specifically, the indictment alleges that on April 15, 2013, during the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, Tsarnaev and his brother placed IEDs among the crowds of spectators who were cheering the runners on Boylston Street towards the marathon finish line. After placing the IEDs among the crowd, the indictment alleges, Tsarnaev and his brother detonated the bombs seconds apart, killing three people, maiming and injuring many more, and forcing a premature end to the marathon. The indictment alleges that the IEDs were constructed from pressure cookers, explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesives and other items, and were designed to shred skin, shatter bone and cause extreme pain and suffering, as well as death.
The indictment also alleges that on April 18, 2013, the FBI released photographs of Tsarnaev and his brother, identifying them as suspects in the marathon bombings. These photographs were widely disseminated on television and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that hours later on April 18, Tsarnaev and his brother, armed with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, a machete and a hunting knife, drove in their Honda Civic to the MIT campus, where they shot MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and attempted to steal his service weapon.
The indictment further alleges that shortly after Tsarnaev and his brother killed Officer Collier, they carjacked a Mercedes, kidnaped the driver, and forced him to drive to a gas station, robbing him of $800 along the way. After the driver managed to escape, the brothers are alleged to have driven the carjacked vehicle to the vicinity of Laurel Street and Dexter Avenue in Watertown, Mass., where Watertown police officers located them and tried to apprehend them. The indictment alleges that the brothers fired at the police officers and used four additional IEDs against them; then Tsarnaev reentered the carjacked vehicle, drove it directly at the officers, running over his brother as he managed to escape. Tsarnaev is alleged to have hidden in a dry-docked boat in a Watertown backyard until his arrest the following night.
Seventeen of the charges authorize a penalty of up to life in prison or the death penalty. The remainder authorize a maximum penalty of life in prison or a fixed term of years. Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned on July 10, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Suffolk County, Mass., District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Division; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Kenneth J. Croke, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Boston Field Division; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Boston, made the announcement today during a press conference.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Boston Division, the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of more than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the ATF, ICE-HSI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Secret Service, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and others. In addition, the Watertown Police Department, the Cambridge Police Department, the MIT Police Department, the Boston Fire Department, the National Guard and police, fire and emergency responders from across Massachusetts and New England played critical roles in the investigation and response.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts' Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit, Nadine Pellegrini, Chief of its Major Crimes Unit, and Trial Attorneys of the U.S. Department of Justice's National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section and its Criminal Division.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.