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First Thoughts: Manhunt is underway

Manhunt is underway for at-large Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19… His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, is killed by police… How the night unfolded… The Boston area shuts down… President Obama is briefed… And chilling anniversaries on or around April 19. 

*** Manhunt is underway: The nation has awakened to the news that one man is dead and a hunt is underway for the other in the chase for the two suspects accused of the Boston Marathon bombings. NBC’s Pete Williams, who has been on top of this story from the get-go, reports that the alleged terrorists are brothers. The man on the run in the Boston area is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, born July 22, 1993 in Kyrgyzstan, and he was the one identified as wearing the white baseball cap. He has a Massachusetts driver’s license and is a resident of Cambridge, MA. The brother who is dead is Tamerlan Tzarnaev, born Oct. 21, 1986 in Russia, and he became a legal permanent resident in 2007. Authorities tell NBC’s Williams that the brothers came into the U.S. with their families in either 2002 or 2003. This is a story unfolding in real time. As of publication time, Pete Williams was reporting that authorities think they know where the second suspect is, and there is now concern about a third relative in the area.

*** How the night unfolded: Per NBC’s Williams, Jonathan Dienst, Michael Isikoff, and Richard Esposito, the evening's mayhem began when the suspects appeared to have confronted an MIT police officer in his cruiser, shot him in the head and killed him. Next, one of the suspects is seen on surveillance tape obtained by police robbing a 7-11 store in Cambridge, MA. The suspects then carjacked a Mercedes SUV and were chased by police. During the chase, the two men tossed explosives and hand grenades out the car window. At the end of the chase, authorities shot and killed one suspect (Tamerlan Tzarnaev), he was run over. When police approached his body, they discovered an IED strapped to his chest. Police say that the streets are littered with unexploded devices.

*** The Boston area shuts down: “The search has led to the sudden shutdown of the MBTA’s entire network of commuter rail, bus, and subway services,” the Boston Globe writes. “State authorities asked people who live in the entire city of Boston, as well as the nearby communities of Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge, to “shelter in place” — stay inside and not open their doors to anyone except police with proper ID.”

*** Obama is briefed: President Obama has received briefings overnight of these unfolding events from his top counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco, NBC’s Kristen Welker reports. 

*** Chilling anniversaries: It’s not surprising if people are on edge given the anniversaries on or around this date of April 19. After all, it was on April 19, 1993 when the final raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX took place… It was on April 19, 1995 when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred… It was April 20, 2010 when the Deep Horizon exploded off the Gulf Coast, beginning the months-long oil spill… And April 20 is also Adolf Hitler’s birthdate.

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