Sun, May 05, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Boston suspect died of gunshots, blunt trauma

MARATHON BOMBINGS:Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family found a funeral home willing to handle his body. US officials say the bombings were originally planned for July 4

AP, BOSTON

A suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso, a funeral director said on Friday.

Funeral home owner Peter Stefan has 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body and read details from his death certificate.

The certificate cites Tsarnaev’s “gunshot wounds of torso and extremities” and lists the time of his death as 1:35am on April 19, four days after the deadly bombing, Stefan said.

Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with authorities who had launched a massive manhunt for him and his brother, ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the US about a decade ago. Police have said he ran out of ammunition before his younger brother dragged his body under a vehicle while fleeing.

Tsarnaev’s family on Friday was making arrangements for his funeral as investigators searched the woods near a college attended by 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured less than a day after his brother’s death.

The funeral parlor is familiar with Muslim services and said it would handle arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose body was released by the state medical examiner on Thursday.

The body initially was taken to another funeral home, where it was greeted by about 20 protesters. Stefan, owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, said everybody deserves a dignified burial service regardless of the circumstances of their death and that he is prepared for protests.

“My problem here is trying to find a gravesite. A lot of people don’t want to do it. They don’t want to be involved with this,” said Stefan, who added that dozens of protesters gathered outside his funeral home, upset with his decision to handle the funeral.

“I keep bringing up the point of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh or Ted Bundy. Somebody had to do those, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, two US officials said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators that he and his brother initially considered setting off their bombs on July 4, Independence Day in the US.

As part of the bombing investigation, federal, state and local authorities were searching the woods near the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student. Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, could not say what investigators were looking for, but said residents should know there is no threat to public safety.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard, faces a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

Three of his college classmates were arrested on Wednesday and accused of helping after the bombing to remove a laptop and backpack from his dormitory room before the FBI searched it.

The April 15 bombing, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards, killed three people and injured more than 260 others near the marathon’s finish line.

The brothers decided to carry out the attack before Independence Day when they finished assembling the bombs, the surviving suspect told interrogators after he was arrested, two US officials briefed on the investigation said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Investigators believe some of the explosives used in the attack were assembled in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s home, though there may have been some assembly elsewhere, one of the officials said. It does not appear that the brothers ever had big, definitive plans, the official said.

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