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Boston marks week from bombs with silence

22 April 2013, 15:00

Boston - Seven days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the city planned to mark the traumatic week with mournful silence and a return to its bustling commute.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has asked residents to observe a moment of silence at 14:50 local time on Monday, the time the first of the two bombs exploded near the finish line. Bells will ring across the city and state after the minute-long tribute to the victims.

Many Boston residents are returning to the workplaces and schools for the first time since a dramatic week came to an even more dramatic end.

Authorities on Friday had made the unprecedented request that residents stay at home during the manhunt for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He was discovered that evening hiding in a boat covered by a tarp in suburban Watertown. His older brother Tamerlan was earlier killed during a getaway attempt.

"It's surreal," said Barbara Alton, as she walked her dog along Newbury Street. "But I feel like things are starting to get back to normal."

In another sign of progress, city officials said they are beginning the process of re-opening to the public the six-block site around the bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 180. The announcement came on Sunday, a day when people could still watch investigators at the crime scene work in white jumpsuits.

Private funeral

Tsarnaev remained hospitalised and unable to speak, with a gunshot wound to the throat. He was expected to be charged by federal authorities. The 19-year-old also is likely to face state charges in connection with the fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier in Cambridge, said Stephanie Guyotte, a spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

A private funeral was scheduled on Monday for Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant worker killed in the blasts. A memorial service will be held that night at Boston University for 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, a graduate student from China.

City churches on Sunday paused to mourn the dead as the city's police commissioner said the two suspects had such a large cache of weapons that they were probably planning other attacks.

After the two brothers engaged in a gun battle with police early on Friday, authorities found many unexploded homemade bombs at the scene, along with more than 250 rounds of ammunition.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the stockpile was "as dangerous as it gets in urban policing".

"We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene - the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had - that they were going to attack other individuals. That's my belief at this point." Davis told CBS's Face the Nation.

Throat injury

On Fox News Sunday, he said authorities cannot be positive there are not more explosives somewhere that have not been found. But the people of Boston are safe, he insisted.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are ethnic Chechens from southern Russia. The motive for the bombings remained unclear.

Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the surviving brother's throat wound raised questions about when he will be able to talk again, if ever.

The wound "doesn't mean he can't communicate, but right now I think he's in a condition where we can't get any information from him at all", Coats told ABC's This Week.

It was not clear whether Tsarnaev was shot by police or inflicted the wound himself.

In the final standoff with police, shots were fired from the boat, but investigators have not determined where the gunfire was aimed, Davis said.

Wife suspected nothing

In an interview with The Associated Press, the parents of Tamerlan Tsarnaev insisted on Sunday that he came to Dagestan and Chechnya last year to visit relatives and had nothing to do with the militants operating in the volatile part of Russia. His father said he slept much of the time.

A lawyer for Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife told the AP on Sunday night that federal authorities have asked to speak with her, and that he is discussing with them how to proceed.

Attorney Amato DeLuca said Katherine Russell Tsarnaev did not suspect her husband of anything, and that there was no reason for her to have suspected him. He said she had been working 70 to 80 hours, seven days a week, as a home healthcare aide. While she was at work, her husband cared for their toddler daughter, he said.

The younger Tsarnaev could be charged any day. The most serious charge available to federal prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

Across the rattled streets of Boston, churches opened their doors to remember the dead and ease the grief of the living.

At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, photographs of the three people killed in the attack and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer slain on Thursday were displayed on the altar, each face illuminated by a glowing white pillar candle.

"I hope we can all heal and move forward," said Kelly McKernan, who was crying as she left the service. "And obviously, the Mass today was a first step for us in that direction."

Weapons being traced

A six-block segment of Boylston Street, where the bombs were detonated, remained closed on Sunday. But Mayor Thomas Menino said on Sunday that once the scene is released by the FBI, the city will follow a five-step process, including environmental testing and a safety assessment of buildings. The exact timetable was uncertain.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracing the suspects' weapons to try to determine how they were obtained.

Neither of the brothers had permission to carry a gun. Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas said it was unclear whether either of them ever applied for a gun permit, and the applications are not considered public records.

But the younger brother would have been denied a permit based on his age alone. Only people 21 or older are allowed gun licenses in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, surgeons at a Cambridge hospital said the Boston transit police officer wounded in a shootout with the suspects had lost nearly all his blood, and his heart had stopped from a single gunshot wound that severed three major blood vessels in his right thigh.

Richard Donohue, aged 33, was in critical but stable condition. He is sedated and on a breathing machine but opened his eyes, moved his hands and feet and squeezed his wife's hand on Sunday.



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