Boston Bombing Investigation Extends to Landfill

In this image released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 19, 2013, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19-years-old, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing is seen.
Photo: Handout/FBI

The mystery du jour in the Boston bombing investigation: Why would Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have thrown out his laptop? A law enforcement official tells the New York Times that on Thursday investigators were combing through the Crapo Hill Landfill in New Bedford, which is near the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Tsarnaev was a student. The paper reports, “they believe that the computer may have been thrown out,” but it’s unclear why Tsarnaev would have been careful enough to destroy evidence on his laptop when court papers show he left a “large pyrotechnic,” BB pellets, and a white hat and dark jacket like those shown on marathon surveillance videos in his dorm room.

As for the big question that arose earlier this week — why officers opened fire on Tsarnaev when he was unarmed and they were trying to take him alive — one law enforcement source offered an explanation. An official told the Times that officers shot at something they saw push through the tarp on the boat where Tsarnaev was hiding, thinking it might be an explosive or a gun. “One officer then fired,” said the law enforcement official. “The other officers there, hearing a shot going off, thought it was coming from the suspect and started shooting until the cease-fire was ordered.” That sounds like an understandable mistake, considering that Tsarnaev was believed to be hurling bombs and shooting at police earlier that day, but for some reason there’s still no official word on why police fired at the boat.