Police Chief describes arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Published On: Apr 22 2013 07:27:29 AM HST
REVERE, Mass. -

A member of the SWAT team that arrested Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a Watertown back yard Friday night said the assault was "very similar to going into battle."

Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli said he and 30 members of the North Metro SWAT team rushed to Franklin Street when they heard a radio transmission of shots fired.

"We were told over the radio that the thermal imagery had one suspect with his head toward the stern (of the boat in which Tsarnaev was hiding)," Cafarelli told NewsCenter 5's Kelley Tuthill in an exclusive interview.

Cafarelli's said the tactical team, which included his brother and cousin, was  concerned that Tsarnaev had explosives and would blow up the boat which had a tank full of fuel.

"There was thermal imagery that indicated he was trying to start a fire," said Cafarelli who is a Marine Corps veteran. "If he detonates, there's going to be a dozen cops killed. If I can stop that then clearly I'm going to, so training kicks in."

The fear of Tsarnaev's potential for further violence triggered the decision to move the arrest team forward.

"At some point he was becoming cooperative and making an effort to stand up. At that point it started getting hairy. The thought of a suicide bomb is always in the back of your head," he said. "We got him on the ground. The first thought in my mind was suicide vest. I opened up his shirt. He didn't have anything beneath them, thank God.

Tsarnaev, who was shot in the throat during the assault, was described by Cafarelli as in a state of shock after his arrest.

"(He was) conscious but not cognizant of what was going on around him."

After the arrest, Carafelli said the celebration began.

"A lot of high fives, tears of joy. I'm not afraid to admit it. The outpouring of gratitude and support was incredible.


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