It’s hard to believe that in April it will be an entire decade since the day the Watertown Police faced the Boston Marathon Bombers in the East End, the shelter-in-place during the hunt for the remaining suspect, and the ultimate capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a boat in the yard of a house on Franklin Street.
Watertown News is collecting the stories and photos of people who saw it firsthand, those who lived in town at the time, and even people who didn’t reside here, but remember that day.
In 2013, I was working for the Patch, and remember awakening not to the sound of gunshots, but to the dings of my cellphones as reporters and editors shot texts back and forth. Imagine my surprise when I realized the Bombers had been tracked down to my town!
My editor told me to go to bed and the others could handle it, but there was no way I was going to get any sleep with the hunt for the Bombers going on in my town. I spent the rest of the night listening to the police scanner, trying to figure out what was going on and where the bombers were hiding.
Then came word that the Governor had locked down Watertown. My wife and I spent a long day sitting inside as police from around the state combed Watertown. It was sort of like a snow day, except it was a clear, sunny day. Oh, and I can still hear the heavy droning of the helicopters flying over head.
I remember the brief exhale at the end of the lockdown that afternoon. Then suddenly hearing some unusual messages on the scanner, followed by the words “shots fired!”
My wife and I got in our car to get as close as we could to the action, but we only made it a few blocks from our home near Watertown Square. Then we waited with dozens of others on Mt. Auburn Street. What seemed like hours later, word spread that they had captured Tsarnaev, and the celebrations began.
We watched dozens of law enforcement vehicles stream out of town along Mt. Auburn Street. I grabbed some video, photos and quotes before racing back to write a story. I collapsed exhausted that night.
The next day I went out and spoke to a woman who had to lie on her floor as police closed in on Tsarnaev in the boat on Franklin Street. I remember visiting Donohue’s, where there was still a festive mood following the capture. (See the story here).
After that experience, my wife and I agreed that we could not see living anywhere else than Watertown.
Share Your Memories
What do you remember from that day? Were you close to the action? What did you do while confined to your home? Do you have any snapshots or videos from that day? Were you at the Marathon finish line that day?
If you didn’t live here, what was your image of Watertown from the coverage of the shootout and manhunt? What is it like to now live in the place that was the focus of the world’s media for a short time?
Do you do anything to mark or commemorate that day?
Share comments below (please use your full name), or send an email to email@example.com. Your memories may be used in the article about the 10th anniversary.