WATERTOWN — When police finally cornered and captured suspected Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown on Friday night, residents who had spent most of the day locked in their homes poured into the streets to show their gratitude with loud cheers.
On Saturday, residents of Watertown made that gratitude tangible, flocking in droves to the Main Street headquarters of the Watertown Police Department to drop off food, gifts, and flowers.
“I just needed to thank them,” said Watertown resident Elaine Martin, 62, as she placed a bag of oranges on a table weighed down with vases, pizza boxes, lasagna, and cupcakes. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Martin ran into Watertown Police Officer Richard Munger on her way out.
“I hope you never have to go through this again,” she told him. “You guys did such good work.”
Munger said officers at the department are “overwhelmed” by the generosity of the Watertown residents.
“The support from the community has been unbelievable,” he said. “We already gave half the stuff away, but everybody keeps coming.”
Watertown police were sharing the bounty with other law enforcement officials, including members of the State Police Crime Scene unit.
Brighton resident Emily Suarez brought police a neatly wrapped loaf of homemade pumpkin raisin bread, made from a favorite family recipe.
“They were right there in the face of danger for so many hours,” said Suarez, a 21-year-old Boston University student and a line cook at the South End’s Hamersley’s Bistro. “They’re so exhausted, there’s no way they should have to go home and cook.”
Officers thanked her profusely, she said, and promised to hang her card up on the wall next to the many others that had come in.
“I wrote on the card that I was so thankful to be protected by people like them,” Suarez said. “I believe food is comfort. This is the least I could do.”
A deliveryman for Domino’s Pizza, who was spotted bringing a few pies in from the parking lot, said the chain had sent at least 20 orders to the Watertown police headquarters Saturday, all from grateful residents.
And at the Starbucks on Mount Auburn Street, an employee who answered the phone said callers from Watertown and even other states donated money so police could dine there for free.
For Suarez, it was the steady conduct of police in extreme circumstances that motivated her to come here, pumpkin raisin bread in hand.
“They handled it so professionally and so calmly,” she said. “It just makes me very proud.”Dan Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter at @DanielAdams86.