One of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings is dead after the killing of a university officer and a shootout with police, and a massive manhunt is underway for the other, authorities said early Friday.
Police have locked down some neighborhoods in Boston and its western suburbs as they search for the remaining suspect, who is known as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, or the man in the white hat from marathon surveillance footage.
The dead suspect was identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, born in Russia and the brother of Dzhokhar. Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the suspects, claims that his son who is still on the loose is a smart and accomplished young man.
“My son is a true angel,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from the Russian city of Makhachkala on Friday. “Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here.”
Dzhokar, 19, was born in Kyrgyzstan and in possession of a Massachusetts driver’s license.
Law officials told NBC News that both men are legal permanent residents of the U.S., have been here about a year and had military experience.
Authorities urged residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit was shut down and businesses were asked not to open Friday. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home.
“We believe this to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed David of the suspect on the loose. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.”
The Middlesex district attorney said the two men are suspected of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer on campus in Cambridge late Thursday, then stealing a car at gunpoint and later releasing its driver unharmed.
Hours earlier, police had released photos of the marathon bombing suspects and asked for the public’s help finding them. A new photo of the suspect on the loose was released later showing him in a grey hoodie sweatshirt. It was taken at a 7-Eleven in Cambridge, just across the Charles River from Boston.
The first images were released hours after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended an interfaith service at a Roman Catholic cathedral in Boston to remember the bombing victims.
Authorities say the suspects threw explosives from the car as police followed it into Watertown. The suspects and police exchanged gunfire, and one of the suspects was critically injured and later died at a hospital while the other escaped.
The FBI said it was working with local authorities to determine what happened.
Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where a suspect in the marathon bombings was taken and later died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. They wouldn’t say if the patient they treated, who came in with police, was the suspect in the black hat from marathon surveillance footage.
The MIT shooting on the Cambridge campus Thursday night was followed by reports of gunfire and explosions in Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston.
The MIT officer had been responding to report of a disturbance Thursday night when he was shot multiple times, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney’s office and Cambridge police. It said there were no other victims.
In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.
State police spokesman David Procopio said, “The incident in Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly, potentially, being used against the police officers.”
Boston cab driver Imran Saif said he was standing on a street corner at a police barricade across from a diner when he heard an explosion.
“I heard a loud boom and then a rapid succession of pop, pop, pop,” he said. “It sounded like automatic weapons. And then I heard the second explosion.”
He said he could smell something burning and advanced to check it out but area residents at their windows yelled at him, “Hey, it’s gunfire! Don’t go that way!”
MIT said right after the 10:30 p.m. shooting that police were sweeping the campus in Cambridge and urged people to remain indoors. They urged people urged to stay away from the Stata Center, a mixed-use building with faculty offices, classrooms and a common area.
Hours later, MIT, which has about 11,000 students, said the campus was clear but the shooter was still on the loose.