'It was a good feeling and no time to be afraid': Cops who cuffed Boston Marathon 'bomber' in boat reveal how they took America's most wanted man into custody

  • SWAT officers from MBTA speak out for the first time during press conference
  • They had approached Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday as he hid in a boat in Watertown, not knowing if he was armed or had rigged the boat to explode

The Boston SWAT team who slapped handcuffs on Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say that they didn't 'have time to be afraid' as they inched toward his hiding spot on Friday.

The SWAT officers from the MBTA held a press conference on Monday, as they were officially recognized for their efforts in taking down the suspect after an all-day manhunt in Watertown.

The Boston suburb was gripped with fear as the sun went down on Friday, when pops of gunfire and the booms of flash grenades were heard - all focused on a boat parked in a Franklin Street driveway.

The well-trained team then approached the boat, not knowing whether Tsarnaev was armed or had rigged the vessel with the same bombs he allegedly used in the attack at the marathon days prior.

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Long arms of the law: Officers Saro Thompson, left, and Kenny Tran, right, were the SWAT team members who slapped handcuffs on Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Heroes: Another SWAT officer, Jeff Campbell, was the one who pulled Tsarnaev off the boat

SWAT Officer Jeff Campbell - who pulled Tsarnaev off the boat - noted how the officers had proceeded carefully, saying: 'We had no idea if the boat was rigged with explosives. He could have done anything.'

And the officers admitted that they were sitting ducks - out in the open in the backyard as they moved in.

Officer Campbell told former FBI assistant director John Miller in a CBS interview airing on Tuesday:  'As we're approaching what we call the danger zone... That’s the danger zone because there’s no cover for us except that ballistic shield.'

But as they got closer, Tsarnaev suddenly stood up in the boat, acknowledging that he was ready to surrender.

Officer Campbell noted that the suspect 'looked weak' and was 'shaky.'

He told Miller: '[Tsarnaev] appeared to be losing consciousness and did have some wounds to his body. You could see the blood on his body.'

Once he was off the boat, Officer Saro Thompson said: 'Officer [Kenny] Tran helped me secure the suspect along with other people from different teams that we do not know the names of.'

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Danger zone: The police officers are speaking out, days after they took Tsarnaev into custody after he hid in a boat in Watertown

Sgt Sean Reynolds, who is also part of the team, told reporters: 'You don't really have time to be afraid.'

Thompson added: 'At a time like that, training kicks in. We don't have emotion going into something like that.'

Thompson added: 'We ended up putting him in cuffs and we turned him over to the medics after we moved him away from the boat.

When asked if Tsarnaev spoke as he was arrested, Thompson said: 'I don’t think he had the energy to say anything. Once we got him on the ground, he was compliant and was going in and out of consciousness.'

One of their colleagues, transit police officer Richard H. Donahue, 33, was seriously injured during the wild shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers early on Friday morning.

Charged: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been formally charged in the Boston Marathon bombings and he will be tried in the U.S. criminal justice system

Thompson said that when he visited Donahue in the hospital on Monday, he proudly informed him: 'We got him.'

Tsarnaev's older brother Tamerlan died in a hospital after that confrontation, likely from injuries sustained when he was run over by a stolen vehicle driven by Dzhokhar.

The interview with the SWAT officers came after Tsarnaev was read his Miranda Rights on Monday as he was charged with using weapons of mass destruction during an arraignment while he laid in his hospital bed.

During the proceedings in his Boston hospital bed, Tsarnaev only uttered the word 'no' when asked if he could afford a defense attorney.

Tsarnaev, 19, was arraigned in his hospital bed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Monday by a magistrate judge, court officials said.

He was officially read his Miranda Rights at the time, Fox News reported.

He was also asked several questions in which he nodded his head to respond.

The hearing began with a doctor being asked whether Tsarnaev is alert.

'You can rouse him, the doctor said, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by The New York Times.

Tsarnaev then nods his head when asked how he's feeling.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Marianne B. Bowler said: 'At this time, at the conclusion of the initial appearance, I find that the defendant is alert, mentally competent and lucid.

'He is aware of the nature of the proceedings.'

A probable cause hearing in the case was then set for May 30.

Wounded: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, seen here moments after he was pulled from the boat where he was hiding, suffered a throat wound and a leg wound

He is specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction - namely, an improvised explosive device or IED - against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, according to the criminal complaint.

Two U.S. officials say preliminary evidence from an interrogation suggests the suspects in the Boston Marathon attack were motivated by their religious views but were apparently not tied to any Islamic terrorist groups.

The two brothers, from southern Russia, practiced Islam.

The U.S. officials spoke Monday on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

In the criminal complaint outlining the allegations, investigators said Tsarnaev and his brother each placed a knapsack containing a bomb in the crowd near the finish line of the 26.2-mile race.

Site: A blood stain can be seen on the boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding after a massive manhunt that left the Boston area paralyzed in fear

The FBI said surveillance-camera footage showed Dzhokhar manipulating his cellphone and lifting it to his ear just instants before the two blasts.

After the first blast, a block away from Dzhokhar, 'virtually every head turns to the east ... and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment and alarm,' the complaint says. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 'virtually alone of the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm.'

He then quickly walked away, leaving a knapsack on the ground; about 10 seconds later, a bomb blew up at the spot where he had been standing, the FBI said.

The FBI did not say whether he was using his cellphone to detonate one or both of the bombs or whether he was talking to someone.

The criminal complaint shed no light on the motive for the attack.

Injured: After insuring that Tsarnaev was not a threat, they handed him over to medics to treat his wounds

The Obama administration said it had no choice but to prosecute Tsarnaev in the federal court system.

Some politicians had suggested he be tried as an enemy combatant in front of a military tribunal, where defendants are denied some of the usual constitutional protections.

But Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and under U.S. law, American citizens cannot be tried by military tribunals, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Carney said that since 9/11, the federal court system has been used to convict and imprison hundreds of terrorists.

Shortly after the charges were unveiled, Boston-area residents and many of their well-wishers - including President Barack Obama at the White House - observed a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. - the moment a week earlier when the bombs exploded.

Effort: One of the SWAT officers described how they 'all moved up as a team' in Watertown

Across Massachusetts, the silence was broken by the tolling of church bells.

'God bless the people of Massachusetts,' said Gov Deval Patrick at a ceremony outside the Statehouse. 'Boston Strong.'

Also Monday, the governor and Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O'Malley were among the mourners at St. Joseph Church at the first funeral for one of the victims, Krystle Campbell.

The 29-year-old restaurant manager had gone to watch a friend finish the race.

Investigation: Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli is seen clearing the boat moments after the subject was placed into custody

'She was always there for people. As long as Krystle was around, you were OK,' said Marishi Charles, who attended the Mass. 'These were the words her family wanted you to remember.'

Amid a swirl of emotions in Boston, there was cause for some celebration: Doctors announced that everyone injured in the blasts who made it to a hospital alive now seems likely to survive.

That includes several people who arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head wound and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl riddled with nails.

'All I feel is joy,' said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to his hospital's 31 blast patients. 'Whoever came in alive stayed alive.'

As of Monday, 51 people remained hospitalized, three of them in critical condition. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb; three of them lost more than one.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hands when he was captured hiding out in a boat in a backyard in the Boston suburb of Watertown, authorities said.

A probable cause hearing - at which prosecutors will spell out the basics of their case - was set for May 30.

According to a clerk's notes of Monday's proceedings in the hospital, U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler indicated she was satisfied that Tsarnaev was 'alert and able to respond to the charges.'

Tsarnaev did not speak during the proceeding, except to answer 'no' when he was asked if he could afford his own lawyer, according to the notes.

He nodded when asked if he was able to answer some questions and whether he understood his rights as explained to him by the judge.

Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad, whose office has been assigned to represent Tsarnaev, declined to comment.

Tsarnaev could also face state charges in the slaying of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, who was shot in his cruiser Thursday night on the MIT campus in Cambridge.

News of the criminal charges pleased some of the people gathered at a makeshift memorial along the police barricades on Boylston Street, where the attack took place.

Amy McPate a Massachusetts native now living in Maine, said she usually opposes the death penalty, but thinks it should apply in this case.

'They were more than murderers. They're terrorists. They terrorized the city,' she said. 'The nation has been terrorized.'

Kaitlynn Cates of Everett, who suffered a leg injury in the bombing, said from her hospital room: 'He has what's coming to him.'

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