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Boston Area Suburbs Remain On Lockdown
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
All morning we have been following the extraordinary events in Boston, where a manhunt is underway for one of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. The brother of the young man the police are searching for, his brother was killed in a shootout last night with police. Meanwhile, this American city, the city of Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods are in total lockdown.
Our colleagues have described a surreal scene where there are SWAT teams in the backyards of people's homes. People have been told not to go outside, to only open their doors if a clearly identified member of the police department is there, and we will continue following this story all day. I'm in the studio with NPR's counterterrorism correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston. And Dina, you've been working for hours on this story kind of trying to get any threads that you can get.
Give us the latest on the investigation and what we're seeing in Boston right now.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well, there's a lot of confusion. There are a number of SWAT teams and FBI teams standing out over neighborhoods in Boston trying to locate the young man named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And he's 19 years old. We've heard a little bit about his background. Apparently he was a very popular high school student. He had just started college. He was a great wrestler.
People said he was very personable. His older brother...
GREENE: Sweetheart someone described him as.
TEMPLE-RASTON: His teacher described him as a total sweetheart. And the people we have spoken to, whether neighbors or friends of his who have talked about him, say they can't believe this - that he could do something like this. His older brother, Tamerlan, was 26. He was a boxer. He actually tried, he was in a Golden Glove competition and apparently was arrested in 2009 for assault and battery of his girlfriend.
He went to community college, he studied accounting, and they seem like two regular American guys.
GREENE: Who spent time in America, and then the police say carried out this event at the Boston Marathon. It's just extraordinary. We'll be learning much more about them as the day goes on, and Dina, thanks for staying with us all morning. It's been a long morning, especially for people in Boston, just extraordinary events in that city.
Now, among the people that we have spoken with today from the Boston area is Dr. David Schoenfeld of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. He lives in Watertown, which is the suburb of Boston where the manhunt is underway right now, and he heard the chaos breaking out last night. He ended up being among the team that treated the suspect who died early this morning, and that was the 26-year-old suspect who was killed.
And here is the doctor recalling events to us earlier this morning.
DAVID SCHOENFELD: Well, I was actually, last night, was home doing some work on the couch and watching the news reports of the tragic death of the MIT police officer when I saw police cars flooding into Watertown past my house and shortly after began hearing gunshots and explosions. And when I started hearing the explosions, at first when I saw the police cars I thought that this was related to the police officer's shooting.
And then when I began hearing the explosions I knew that this was something more, so I called the hospital to notify them so that they could get ready for incoming casualties.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And it sounds like what you were hearing was the gunfight that we have described, many, many gunshots fired, and apparently the suspects deploying some kind of explosive devices as they were fleeing in a carjacked vehicle, fleeing police who were chasing them. Go on.
SCHOENFELD: Yeah, I was hearing gunshots and explosions, so I called the hospital to let them know what was going on and given the events of earlier in the week, you know, not knowing what was happening, but just hearing the, you know, the violence that was going on, to have them get ready for casualties. And then I woke my wife up, told her I was going to the hospital and, you know, headed out in the car for the hospital.
INSKEEP: And casualties arrived.
SCHOENFELD: Yeah. We actually, we received just one at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
INSKEEP: And that appears to have been the man who was the suspect who was killed, the man who was described earlier as the black hat suspect from the Boston Marathon bombing. Is that correct?
SCHOENFELD: That's - yeah, I believe that's what the police are now saying, that that's how the police are identifying it. Yeah.
INSKEEP: Okay. You can't confirm that. But of course that is what we are hearing from Massachusetts police. Did you attempt to treat this man? What shape was he in?
SCHOENFELD: So it's, you know, with any trauma patient it's a team effort with emergency physicians, trauma surgeons, nurses, technicians, all working together to treat the victim.
GREENE: And this has been, of course, an extraordinary week in Boston, Dr. Schoenfeld. Were you involved at all in the mass casualties we saw following the bombing at the Marathon on Monday?
SCHOENFELD: I was. On Monday I actually was at home when I got a call from a family member asking if I was okay, and then we immediately found out about the explosions at the finish line, so again I jumped in my car and raced into the hospital and I arrived shortly after the first few patients.
INSKEEP: Dr. Schoenfeld, I want to just get a couple of details if I can about this man. Was he dead on arrival at the hospital?
SCHOENFELD: So when the patient arrived to us, you know, CPR was begun, you know, in the emergency department. We began all the lifesaving measures that we can and sort of deployed every resource that we had to attempt to save the victim.
INSKEEP: Okay. And obviously that was unsuccessful. Can you help us understand another thing that is of great interest to law enforcement authorities and to us all? This man had blast wounds, I'm told, of some kind on his body. Is that correct?
SCHOENFELD: So that's how Dr. Wolfe, the chair of our department, characterized them, so...
INSKEEP: You didn't see them, but Dr. Wolfe did.
SCHOENFELD: So he had, you know, the patient had, you know, multiple traumatic injuries, you know, penetrating trauma, had significant wounds.
INSKEEP: Penetrating trauma, does that mean he was shot?
SCHOENFELD: So, you know, it's hard for me to characterize.
SCHOENFELD: Bullet wound or shrapnel wound, just that it's, you know, for lack of a better term, a hole in the body.
INSKEEP: Okay. So there were a number of different kinds of wounds on this body?
SCHOENFELD: That's correct.
GREENE: That's Dr. David Schoenfeld of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. He was speaking earlier this morning to me and to my colleague, Steve Inskeep, and we will be continuing our coverage of the events in Boston as they continue. We'll have live special coverage at the top of the hour. This is culminating what has been an extraordinary week that began with the bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
There was a huge explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas that claimed 12 lives. And then just the astonishing news overnight and this morning in Boston where a police officer on the campus of MIT lost his life, then there was a massive manhunt. One of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing was killed in a shootout with police and another of the suspects, his brother, remains on the loose.
Follow all the news as it comes to you all day long here from NPR News, including special coverage coming up shortly. This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.