New York City Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference with Police Commissioner Kelly on Thursday afternoon to report that the surviving suspected bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has admitted that he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev "spontaneously" planned an attack in Times Square following the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Police Commissioner Kelly says that Dzhokhar has indicated to the FBI that the decision was made following a carjacking last Thursday night to drive to New York and detonate further explosives.
Police Commissioner Kelly said that the men had prepared six explosive devices which they had with them: one pressure cooker bomb and five pipe bombs. He further reports that surveillance cameras captured footage of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square "with friends" in April of 2012, and that they believe he visited New York City once again in November of 2012. He said that he did not know if Tsarnaev's visits to New York City had any connection to plans of an attack.
Cameras captured footage of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square with friends
Commissioner Kelly also reports that, "to the best of my knowledge," the information was gleaned during a second interview of Dzhokhar, during which he was "more lucid" than previously, and also "speaking." Previous information indicated that Mr. Tsarnaev, who suffered a gunshot wound to his throat, was unable to speak. Both Bloomberg and Kelly cautioned, however, that neither they nor anyone from the New York City Police Department were "in the room" during the interrogation.
The Associated Press reported today that Dzokhar Tsarnaev has been silent and unresponsive to interrogation since being read his Miranda Rights roughly sixteen hours after the FBI and police began questioning him, during which time he reportedly admitted to his role in the bombings and furnished the above details. The delay in the standard Miranda Rights warning came as a result of the Department of Justice exercising what is known as a 'public safety exemption.'
Mr. Tsarnaev, who is 19 years old, is recovering from multiple gun shot wounds at a hospital in Boston after being found in a boat in Watertown, a suburb of Boston, last Friday evening. His capture followed a harrowing week which began with the detonation of two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the largest marathon in the United States, which had more than 20,000 runners. The attack killed three people and injured hundreds. Late Thursday afternoon the FBI released images of two suspects, and that evening, an MIT police officer was fatally shot, allegedly by one of the suspects, who were later identified as 26-year old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzokhar. Tamerlan was ultimately killed in a firefight with police Thursday night. The younger Tsarnaev was initially reported to have been armed and engaged in some sort of firefight with police, surrendered from the boat in Watertown and was later confirmed to have been unarmed. Police did shoot at the boat, according to eyewitness reports, and it is unclear when Tsarnaev received the multiple gunshot wounds from which he suffers.
Mayor Bloomberg said that, if the men had made it to Times Square, they would have "found a heavy police presence. What they would not have found," he went on, was a network of surveillance cameras such as Boston has. He went on to make the case for New York City's further investment in anti-terrorism measures, including more surveillance cameras.
This news is a significant change from earlier reports that Dzhokhar had reportedly told the FBI and Boston police that he and his brother were headed to New York City to "party."