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April 23, 2013

Suspect faces 'mass destruction' charges

Suspect in bombing eligible for death penalty

BOSTON — On a day when leaders and residents in Boston, Gloucester and across Massachusetts all paused to remember and pay tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims, federal officials stepped up in pressing “mass destruction” charges against the surviving terrorist suspect, who remains hospitalized under heavy armed guard in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The two brothers suspected of bombing the Marathon last week appear to have been motivated by a radical brand of Islam but do not seem connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, U.S. officials said after interrogating and charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with crimes that could bring the death penalty.

Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in his hospital room, where he remained in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway. His older brother, Tamerlan, 26, died Friday after a fierce gun battle with police.

The Massachusetts college student was charged with using and conspiring to use a “weapon of mass destruction.” He was accused of joining with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 a week ago yesterday.

The announcement of the charges came Monday as cities and towns across the state — including Gloucester — paused at 2:50 p.m. to mourn the dead and console the survivors of the Marathon terrorist attack. Those tributes were aimed at recognizing the victims of the bombings with a moment of silence and ringing of bells at the precise time of the first explosion near the finish line of last week’s race.

The Gloucester ceremony included remarks by Mayor Carolyn Kirk on the steps of Gloucester’s City Hall, with a ringing of the bells in the hall’s tower.

Among those in attendance was Gloucester Police patrolman and K9 officer Chris Genovese, who, with his dog Mako, was deployed to Watertown for the manhunt to track down Dshokhar Tsarnaev Friday night.

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