Ten years ago, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the world-famous Boston Marathon on Boylston Street, killing three people and injuring more than 280.


A subsequent manhunt ensued, before the authorities identified and eventually captured the perpetrators: brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Now, the events are being explored in new Netflix documentary, American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing, which covers the days of the search that followed the attacks.

The three-parter speaks to FBI agents, police officers and ordinary citizens whose actions led to the killers’ capture.

While the incident has previously been dramatised by Jake Gyllenhaal's Stronger and Patriots Day, in which Mark Wahlberg plays fictional sergeant Tommy Saunders, American Manhunt looks at how the manhunt led to a shoot-out between the bombers and police.

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Here's everything you need to know about the true story behind the docuseries and where the bombers are now.

American Manhunt: Boston Marathon Bombing true story

On 15th April 2013, two homemade pressure cooker bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds.

The bombs were planted by brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who were identified three days later from images of two men – one wearing a black hat, another wearing a white hat.

During the 117th annual Boston Marathon, the first bomb was detonated outside Marathon Sports at 2:49pm, while the second was set off seconds later one block away.

In the immediate aftermath, nearby hotels and buildings were evacuated, while airspace over Boston was restricted and President Barack Obama addressed the nation, saying that those responsible "will feel the full weight of justice".

Police were able to use CCTV and camera footage from the marathon to identify the two suspects, with the FBI releasing photographs of them on 18th April, asking the public to help in identifying them.

The next day, the suspects were identified as brother Dhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev – two brothers of Chechen descent living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who had been in Kyrgyzstan and claimed asylum in the US with their family back in 2002.

The night before, the Tsarnaev brothers had shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, which investigators believed was an attempt to steal his gun – however, due to the holster's locking system, they were unable to do so.

They then carjacked a driver in Cambridge, taking the owner Dun Meng hostage and forcing him to take $800 out of his bank account with a plan to detonate more bombs in New York City, however Meng managed to escape whilst they stopped for petrol and asked a Mobile station to call the police.

Using Meng's phone, which was still in the car, law enforcement tracked the brothers and located them in Watertown, where a car chase ensued, with the suspects opening fire on police and throwing a pressure cooker bomb and five "crude grenades", three of which exploded.

How many died in the Boston Marathon Bombing?

Three people were killed – 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lingzi Lü and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell – in the Boston Marathon Bombing on 15th April 2013.

As for injuries, 291 civilians were treated at hospitals, with at least 16 people losing their limbs.

The day after the bombing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier (27) was killed by the bombers in his car, while Boston police officer Dennis Simmonds died from head injuries sustained during a shootout with the bombers later that evening in Watertown.

Who are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as pictured in American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. Netflix

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were brothers of Chechen descent, who were responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, (26), was the eldest brother and an aspiring boxer, while Dzhokhar (20), was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, studying nursing. The brothers' family had been moved from Chechnya following World War II, with the Tsarnaevs living in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan until 2002, when their parents applied for asylum in the States.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had become radicalised in the late noughties, with their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, saying that he "had been concerned about his nephew being an extremist since 2009" after being influenced by a Muslim convert.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was interviewed by the FBI in 2011 to see whether he had any extremist ties, but they failed to find incriminating information.

After the Watertown shoot-out on 18th April, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was found wounded, having been driven over by his brother, and taken to hospital. The next day, police went door-to-door on 20 streets looking for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who they believed to be there. That evening, a resident found him hiding inside his boat, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

What happened to the Boston Marathon bombers?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was sent to hospital after being run over by his brother and shot by police multiple times, but died from his injuries.

He was later tied to the 2011 triple murder of Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken, with police finding forensic evidence pointing to both brothers' involvement in the killings in May 2013.

Later that month, the FBI interviewed Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen immigrant, who reportedly implicated himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the murders but was killed by officers after attacking an FBI agent.

After being discovered by law enforcement, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested and taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries, including a gunshot wound to the throat.

According to CBS News, Tsarnaev had written inside the boat he was found: "The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that. As a M (bullet hole) I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished, we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

He was charged with 30 federal charges, including six counts which related to the second of two pressure-cooker bombs, but pleaded not guilty. On 17th May 2015, he was found guilty and sentenced to death and held at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Tsarnaev appealed his sentence on the grounds that his trial should not have been held in Boston, that there were errors in jury selection and that the judge had improperly excluded evidence over the 2011 triple murder.

While Tsarnaev's death penalty was overturned by a First Circuit panel in December 2019, with him remaining in jail to serve multiple life sentences, the Supreme Court later reinstated the death penalty.

Who is Katherine Russell?

Katherine Russell is the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers. He died during a shootout with police the day after the bombing.

Raised in Rhode Island, Russell attended Suffolk University in Boston but dropped out in 2010 after meeting Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They married and had a daughter.

According to Russell's lawyers, "the reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law [in the bombing] came as an absolute shock to" her and her family.

They added that she was doing everything she could to assist with the investigation and she did not know much about her husband's activities as "she spent most of her time outside the home working as a health aide while he watched their child".

While the authorities did investigate whether Russell was involved, taking samples of her DNA and finding that al-Qaeda material had been downloaded on her computer, no charges were brought against her and they found that her DNA did not match that found on one of the pressure-cooker bombs.

American Manhunt: Boston Marathon Bombing is streaming now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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