One of the Boston marathon bombings suspect was killed in a shootout with police early Friday. A door-to-door search was on for the second, believed to be holed up in a house outside Boston, a city under lockdown.
Officials identified the hunted man as Dzhokhar A Tsarnaev, 19, and said the dead suspect was his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. They are of Chechen origin.
Boston came to a virtual standstill after authorities urged everyone to stay home, locks in place, as Dzhokhar, said to be holed up in Watertown, was “armed and dangerous”.
Previously known only as suspect 2, he was shown wearing a white cap in surveillance pictures taken shortly before Monday’s explosions. Hours after the FBI released the pictures Thursday, the two robbed a store at 10pm (7.30am India time) in Cambridge, across the river from Boston, and killed a police officer at the MIT campus. They then carjacked a vehicle.
Law enforcement chase led them to Watertown, a wooded former mill town with a large Russian-speaking community just outside Boston, where they exchanged gunfire with police officials. Police destroyed what they believed to be live ordnance in a number of controlled explosions throughout the morning.
Tamerlan, the man identified as suspect 1 and seen wearing a black cap in images released by the FBI, tried to rush the police with explosives strapped to his body. He died of bullet wounds at a local hospital.
The brothers are from Chechnya, a disputed and predominantly Muslim region of Russia that sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then fought two bloody wars with the authorities in Moscow.
Tamerlan was born in Kyrgyzstan and Dzhokhar in Dagestan. They moved to the US in 2002 and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
On a Russian social networking site, Dzhokhar listed his "World view" as "Islam" and his "personal priority" "career and money". He also posted links to Islamic websites and others calling for Chechen independence.
Their uncle, Ruslan Tsnarni, who lives in Maryland, called them "losers who were not able to settle themselves and hated everyone else who had". He urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in.
There was no indication yet of links to al Qaeda, which is known to have had many Chechen fighters in its ranks, fighting the US-led international forces in Afghanistan.
FBI released visuals of the brothers, seeking people's help in identifying them. The two were not then described as brothers.
Dzhokhar was seen placing a bag at the site of the second explosion. The two had casually walked away when the two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 170.