The Bloody Hunt for Boston Bombers
As their photographs spread rapidly across the internet, the Tsarnaev brothers decided to make their move.
Not waiting for police to find them, they gathered guns and home-made explosives for what became a final, bloody rampage on a community still in shock from the bombings three days before.
In less than 15 minutes late on Thursday, authorities said, the brothers fatally shot a campus police officer as he sat in his car, then hijacked a Mercedes-Benz SUV at gunpoint.
They held the driver hostage for 30 minutes as they scoured Boston’s western suburbs for ATMs from which to take the man’s cash.
It is unclear whether investigators knew the suspects’ names when they released photographs and videos of them along the marathon course about 5pm on Thursday.
Within minutes, the images circulated worldwide on the internet and television networks.
Law enforcement officials had hoped that wide distribution would bring clues. Instead, it appears to have jarred the Tsarnaevs into action. After apparently spending three days watching the aftermath of the bombings from nearby Cambridge, the two left their apartment, heavily armed. Whether they intended to flee the area or provoke a confrontation is unclear.
The following account was provided by law enforcement officials involved in the manhunt or in the bombing investigation.