Watertown, MA — On Saturday morning, just hours after the largest manhunt in Massachusetts history ended in this Boston suburb, the sun was fighting through the clouds, and the police perimeter had been reduced to a couple hundred feet in either direction of the elbow of Franklin Street, a short, L-shaped road lined with well-kept woodframe houses.On Friday night, in a boat parked in the backyard of one of those houses, law enforcement agents successfully apprehended Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the remaining at-large suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. The hunt for Tsarnaev, who, along with his elder brother, is suspected of carrying out the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 180, had paralyzed much of the Boston area on Friday, and Watertown in particular.
Saturday morning, what had been the center of the action had turned into something of an attraction. TV news vans were parked along the street, and residents of other Watertown neighborhoods and adjacent communities had come to satisfy curiosities.
TPM spoke with one Franklin St. resident, Leah Flynn, 36, who was returning from picking up breakfast at Starbucks. Flynn had spent most of Friday in her home with her fiancee, just a couple blocks away from where Tsarnaev was eventually found.
“Gosh, to know that he was there the whole day,” Flynn said. “He was crouching there the whole day, like the coward that he is. … I’m usually a bleeding heart. But not today.”
Flynn said that she had seen law enforcement officers in her backyard during the day on Friday, which had allowed her to feel better about her personal safety. Still, she said, she “just had this unsettling feeling that he wasn’t far.”
Shortly after state officials lifted the lockdown order on Friday evening, Flynn and her fiancee had left their home for some food. They had not eaten all day. Twenty minutes later, Flynn said, her phone was “blowing up” with people calling to check in. Back on Franklin Street, Tsarnaev had been located, and the news was traveling fast.
Flynn was glad Tsarnaev had been caught, but it was difficult for her to feel “elated” on Saturday. She works as the director of the Office of Student Activities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An MIT police officer, Sean Collier, was allegedly killed by the Tsarnaev brothers overnight on Friday. Flynn didn’t know Collier personally, but said she had seen him at a meeting just last week.
“My heart was torn between this neighborhood and MIT,” Flynn said. “I just want to tell loved ones to push their love to the victims.”
Closer to the yellow police tape, a Cambridge man named Francis Bingham had taken a detour from his usual Saturday morning jogging route to come to Franklin Street to “gawk.”
“I told my wife I wanted to come over and shake the hand of a law enforcement officer,” Bingham, 32, told TPM.
Bingham said that on Tuesday, the day after the marathon bombing, he had registered for the Bay State Marathon, which is a Boston Marathon qualifying event.
“I felt like, man, I’m healthy, these people lost their legs, I can’t take my health for granted anymore,” Bingham said.
The Bay State Marathon is in October. To qualify for the big race, Bingham needs to finish in 3:05 or less.