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April 25, 2013

Report: Suspect unarmed at capture

BOSTON — As bagpipes wailed, more than 4,000 mourners paid their respects Wednesday to an MIT police officer who authorities say was ambushed in his cruiser by the Boston Marathon bombers, while U.S. investigators trying to get to the bottom of the plot looked for answers from the Tsarnaev brothers’ parents in Russia.

But two U.S. officials also confirmed that the surviving suspect in the Boston bombings was unarmed when police captured him hiding inside a boat in a neighborhood back yard.

Authorities had originally said they had exchanged gunfire with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for more than one hour last Friday evening before they were able to subdue him.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation, say investigators recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, from the site of a gun battle Thursday night, which injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer. Dzhokhar was believed to have been shot before he escaped.

But federal officials told The Associated Press Wednesday that no gun was found in the boat; Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said earlier that shots were fired from inside the boat.

In other developments:

The bombs that rocked the Marathon were detonated by remote control, according to U.S. officials close to the investigation. It was not clear what the detonation device was, but the charges against surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say he was using a cell phone moments before the blasts.

The area around the finish line on Boylston Street reopened nine days after the tragedy, freshly poured cement still drying on the repaired sidewalk.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are asking whether a failure to share intelligence contributed to the bombings April 15 that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

And on Boston’s Beacon Hill, a Boston Herald report that the older alleged terrorist brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had collected welfare benefits from the government while in Cambridge in 2012 drew outrage from State Sen. Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester.

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