In Watertown Mass last night the suspects were run to ground. There were at least two shootouts with local police. One suspect is dead at this hour and the other on the run. One MIT officer was killed and a Transit officer is in critical condition in a separate shooting.
Details are a little sketchy but becoming more clear. The dead terrorist had gunshot wounds but also had blast injuries. There are reports of explosions as well as gunshots. Watertown and the surrounding communities are in lock down.
In watching the news a few things strike me. First was the question about why they would stay in the local area. It isn't unusual for a suspect running from the police to find a rabbit hole and go to ground when being actively pursued, especially if they think they haven't been identified. They wait until the pursuit passes them and then find a hole to exploit or for the heat to die down so they can make their escape.
Some have wondered about their motivation in engaging the police. The presence of explosive devices is a pretty fair indicator that their bombing spree wasn't done. The timing of the attempt to escape and the FBI release of their photos probably isn't a coincidence. They understood their chances of being fingered had gone up, their identities were known and there were no good reasons to stay. I think they have a controller who convinced them to not be taken alive. I do believe they always intended to become martyrs in spite of not being suicide bombers at the marathon.
Remember that there is such a thing as being well trained amateurs. They're both young and there is only so much training they had time to acquire. Most of that training is going to be limited in it's scope, mostly related to weapons handling and bomb making skills. Escape and evasion would have been skimmed if not omitted altogether. We're not talking about Delta or SEAL level training here. Get them in a facility, teach them the basic skills they need to kill the largest number of people possible and turn them loose. They're expendable, in fact their deaths were almost certainly always a part of this scenario.
The police have done a very creditable job so far. I haven't seen any signs of overreaction or trigger happiness. Several folks have been detained and at least one was felony proned at gunpoint but so far no innocents shot. This is totally to be expected. When you can't tell the sheep from the goats everyone is a goat. Sucks if you're just trying to get to work but in a situation like this there just isn't really any other way to operate.
I predict that as this investigation continues we'll find out that there are more than just these two involved. Others have aided and abetted in both direct and indirect support roles. Some of them might even be local. In fact that's a virtual certainty but we'll see.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those two officers killed and wounded, their families and fellow officers. May God keep you and may he watch over all those in pursuit of evil and keep those innocents in the line of fire safe and whole.
Update: Suspect #2 (the one still at large) has been named as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The other suspect hasn't yet been named but they apparently are brothers from Chechnya, probably picked because they don't look Arabic. I know, I'm racist but there it is. They've been here for a year or so. Makes that Russian pledge of complete cooperation a little more clear.