NEW YORK – The teenaged Boston bombing suspect has been moved to a prison medical facility, officials said Friday, as a Chinese immigrant carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers offered gripping details of how he helped foil their escape.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old wounded in a wild escape attempt, was sent to the Federal Medical Center Devens near Boston, US Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade said in a brief statement. It gave no reason for the transfer or details on his condition.
The facility is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of the Boston-area hospital where Tsarnaev had been convalescing since he was found seriously wounded in a boat after a citywide manhunt, days after the twin blasts that killed three and wounded 264.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons describes Devens as a facility housing male offenders requiring “specialized or long-term medical or mental health care.”
Tsarnaev’s 26-year-old brother Tamerlan, the other suspect in the attack, died in a shootout with police last week as the pair tried to flee Boston in a hijacked car — reportedly with plans to drive to New York and set off more bombs in Times Square.
The owner of that car, a Chinese immigrant identifying himself only as Danny, also 26, recounted how the elder Tsarnaev carjacked him three nights after the bombing, knocking on the window of his Mercedes SUV, climbing in with a handgun and claiming responsibility for the marathon attack.
Fearing for his life, Danny drove Tsarnaev through suburban Boston followed by a sedan driven by 19-year-old Dzhokhar.
Eventually they were joined by the younger brother. The Tsarnaevs, who are ethnic Chechen Muslims, loaded what appeared to be luggage in the back and the trio set off.
New York police say they had at least six bombs with them. Officials say the younger Tsarnaev confessed to this under interrogation after his capture.
The brothers were apparently bent on driving to New York but found that the Mercedes was low on gas. Danny’s chance for escape came at a Shell gas station.
When the younger Tsarnaev went inside to pay with a $50 bank note, and the older one shoved his handgun in a door pocket to fiddle with a GPS device, Danny fled.
“I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seat belt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn’t make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away,” he told the Boston Globe.
“I just did it. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seat belt, jump out … and go,” sprinting to an adjacent Mobil gas station, never looking back.
The brothers fled in the Mercedes with Danny’s iPhone still inside the vehicle — emitting signals that enabled police to track their whereabouts.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and could face the death penalty if convicted in US federal court.
There have been mounting questions in the United States about whether the US authorities missed crucial signals, about Tamerlan in particular, that should have raised suspicions about the brothers before the bombings.