Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

An Unforgettable Week, For Boston And The Nation


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It was a chaotic and violent week in Boston. As the city and surrounding communities try to get back to normal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the remaining suspect in Monday's marathon bombings, is in a hospital bed under heavy guard as the prosecutors begin to build a case against him. Authorities believe he, along with an older brother who was killed in a shootout on Friday, detonated explosive devices that killed three people and injured dozens more. NPR's Jeff Brady takes a step back to look at the week, starting at the moments the bombs shocked the city.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Runners were still crossing the Boston Marathon finish line at about 2:50 p.m. last Monday when the first blast came.


BRADY: About 10 seconds later, another explosion.


BRADY: The destruction, fear and chaos in that moment soon turned into a huge criminal investigation.

RICK DESLAURIERS: The person who did this is someone's friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative.

BRADY: FBI special agent in charge Rick DesLauriers asked for help from the public - tips, photos, videos, anything - that might help. Meanwhile, politicians, including Boston Mayor Tom Menino, offered comfort.

TOM MENINO: This tragedy is not going to stop Boston. We are Boston. We are one community and we will not let terror take us over.

BRADY: Menino praised those who rushed toward the injured after the blast. Firefighter Michael Ward was asked how many injured people he treated.

MICHAEL WARD: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, I don't know. Nine. It was instant. Just trying to separate the worst from the people who might stand a chance to survive. Thought little Martin was going to make it.

BRADY: Eight-year-old Martin Richard was among the three people killed by the explosions. Neighbor Jane Sherman remembered him as a happy boy who liked to ride his bike and play with friends.

JANE SHERMAN: He was just adorable, like a little munchkin. And it's just devastating.

BRADY: Twenty-nine-year-old Krystle Campbell, who enjoyed life and had a heart of gold. At Boston University, students held a memorial for the third victim, Lu Lingzi, a graduate student. Shuang Guo is president of the school's Chinese Student and Scholars Association.

SHUANG GUO: This girl was just like us. You know, we're international students studying abroad and, you know, we have all our families waiting for us back home.

BRADY: On Thursday, President Obama traveled to Boston for an interfaith service. He directed these words to the scores of people injured in the attacks.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Your commonwealth is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt, you will run again.

BRADY: Later that day, authorities released photos and videos of the suspects. Then events started moving quickly. Investigators say that evening there was a carjacking involving the suspects. Later, an MIT police officer was found shot dead. Then a car chase and a gunfight. The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in the fight. Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar escaped. The city of Boston was shut down Friday while officers scoured neighborhoods in nearby Watertown looking for him. That search ended around 9 P.M. when Tsarnaev was found inside a boat bleeding. He was taken into custody and moved to a hospital for treatment.


BRADY: Neighbors applauded the police for bringing the saga to an apparent close. The sense of relief was still evident Saturday at a memorial near the blast site. Brookline resident John Rich was wearing a marathon jacket for solidarity, he said. Rich ran the Boston Marathon in 2009 and events this week have motivated him.

JOHN RICH: It makes me want to run next year.

BRADY: If this attack was meant to terrorize people, many Bostonians say they want to defy that.

RICH: Next year's Boston Marathon, the day you have to sign up will be, like, sold out in, like, an hour.

BRADY: When that sign-up day comes, the legal proceedings against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev likely will have made some progress. And, if investigators are right, and he's found guilty, perhaps the world will have the answer to this one-word question: why? Jeff Brady, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.