Boston Bombing Suspects Planned Times Square Attack, Authorities Say

By: AP/CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: AP/CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his older brother had decided spontaneously last Thursday night to drive to New York and launch an attack on Times Square.

CBS News

(CBS/AP) The suspects in deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon also planned to attack Times Square in New York, authorities announced Thursday.

"The surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during an afternoon news conference. "He told the FBI, apparently, that he and his brother had intended to drive to New York and designate additional explosives in Times Square."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his older brother had decided spontaneously Thursday night to drive to New York and launch an attack with their five pipe bombs and a pressure-cooker bomb like the ones that blew up at the marathon.

Kelly said that the city was notified by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Wednesday night about the intentions of Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The plan fell apart after the Tsarnaev brothers were intercepted by police in a stolen car and got into a fierce gun battle that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead, Kelly said.

"We don't know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston," Bloomberg said. "We're just thankful that we didn't have to find out that answer."

Dzhokhar, 19, is charged with carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260, and he could get the death penalty.

Tsarnaev traveled to New York at least once last fall. There is a photo of the suspect in Times Square.

On Wednesday, Kelly told reporters that he was told Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have been intending to come to New York to party, or for a party, sometime after the bombings. But Kelly said it's not clear if any specific plans were made.

Investigators said the brothers may have headed for New York City if not for the shooting death of Tamerlan in a police standoff last Thursday night and the eventual capture of Dzokhar Friday night, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reported on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

Investigators gained the insight from the carjacking victim allegedly held hostage by the brothers, Miller reported. The victim speaks little to no English, but authorities pressed him to remember recognizable words from his exchange with the bombing suspects.

The suspects openly boasted to the victim in English about their role in last week's bombing and carried out the rest of their exchange in Russian, Miller reported.

Miller reported that the victim said, "The only word I recognized was Manhattan," a word which "tripped a lot" of alarm for authorities, who quickly halted Amtrak service from Boston to New York and searched the trains.

The tip prompted the New York Police Department to "flip on its network of license plate readers at all bridges and tunnels coming into the city," Miller said. "They loaded all the license plates associated with these guys" to prevent possible entry into Manhattan.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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