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Witnesses suggest friendly fire felled MBTA officer

After the Tsarnaevs’ carjacking victim fled from his SUV at the Shell station, he told officers about his car’s tracking system. The police located the vehicle in Watertown and spotted the Mercedes on Dexter Avenue. Accompanying the SUV was a Honda Civic, driven by Dzhokhar. The two cars pulled over on Laurel Street, where a gunfight erupted.

Eyewitness accounts strongly suggest that MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. was shot and nearly killed by a fellow police officer during the hail of gunfire unleashed on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the terrorism suspect fled in the SUV.

1. Laurel Street. The shoot-out

The suspects used a handgun and homemade grenades in a standoff with police, including a pressure cooker bomb similar to the ones used in the Boston Marathon bombing. At least a dozen police officers from four departments exchanged as many as 300 rounds of gunfire with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. When Tamerlan stopped shooting, they attempted to tackle and arrest him.

By that time, Tamerlan had run out of bullets, hurling his handgun at a Watertown police officer before being subdued and handcuffed. There is little evidence that Dzhokhar ever had a gun - police recovered only one weapon at the scene and none on Dzhokhar when he was arrested the next evening.

Dzhokhar, by then bleeding from multiple wounds, ran over his brother in the stolen SUV, contributing to his death, according to police and witnesses.

Mercedes SUV
Honda Civic
2. Laurel Street & Dexter Avenue. Officer down

The SUV headed toward Spruce Street, rapid gun fired focused on it. Jane Dyson, who said she watched virtually the entire battle from a window, said "It appeared to me that an individual at the corner [of the street] fell to the ground and had probably been hit in the gun fire. I later learned that the individual who had been shot was Officer Richard Donohue." Donohue went down near a utility pole after being struck by a bullet.

Ballistic and explosive markers
Bullet impacts
Mercedes SUV
Officer Donohue
3. Laurel & Spruce Street. Dzhokhar escapes

As the SUV exited the intersection officers chased it on foot and continued to shoot at the vehicle.

Mercedes SUV

SOURCES: Evidence photographs from neighbors; eyewitness accounts.

James Abundis, Javier Zarracina, Chiqui Esteban, Sean P. Murphy, Todd Wallack/Globe Staff

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