Elation: Scene of Watertown Capture of Marathon Bombing Suspect

'This is our town:' a first-person view of how the aftermath became a celebration parade of dozens of police and fire vehicles.

It took a few minutes, but when reality sank in that the second Boston Marathon bomber had been captured in Watertown — their town — the crowd's mood changed; it became like a victory parade for a Red Sox world championship.

After watching the scene in the chilly damp night, being up all night and cooped up all day, it was extra sweet to hear the words "suspect in custody" over the police radio.

Two hours earlier, I had been contemplating a second helping of chicken stirfry when the words rarely heard in Watertown came crackling over the scanner: "Shots fired."

My wife, Jen, and I froze and then went into a frenzy. We grabbed our coats and every camera we could get our hands on and jumped in the car. The scene was just two blocks away.

Mt. Auburn Street — Watertown's main thoroughfare — was already blocked off when we got there. Dozens of police talked nervously. Then came a "pop, pop." Then another, followed by a few more. It was not clear whether they were gas canisters, gun shots, or both.

The crowd hushed. I wondered what was happening on the other side of the houses I had stared at, seemingly for several hours. Police cars came and went. Men in heavy body armor and helmets began heading up the street. 

Then nothing. 

Everyone seemed nervous. Would the suspect be caputred dead or alive? Would he hurt or even kill an officer - possibly one I know personally?

Eventually, word got out — but people didn't quite seem ready to believe it.

A crowd gathered around a car with its radio tuned to a news channel. People clapped when reports that the suspect was subdued and being put into an ambulance.

The chill quickly disappeared as the excitement rose. First one police car left - met with some clapping from the crowd. Then more cars rolled by, and finally one police officer waved and yelled "God Bless America! God Bless America!" 

That was it - the celebration was on. People crowded in, cheering louder and louder and yelling "Good job!" and "Thank You!"

A man turned to another and yelled "This is our town!"

Being a journalist, I do my best to remove emotion and concentrate on the story. But it was no use; the mood was infectious. Eventally I put down my camera and just watched.

I didn't want to leave the scene, but stories had to be written.

It was an added bonus that I was able to share the moment with my wife, an ex-journalist. As we headed back to the car, it set in that we had just witnessed a historic moment of our town, our state and our nation. The man who had ruined the Boston Marathon and terrorized our town had been captured.

Elena Luongo April 20, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Thank you Watertown for your courage! We were praying from North Reading!!
Marc April 20, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Cheers to Watertown and all Massachusetts Security Forces!!! Job Well Done!!! Proud of all of you. Thank You!!
Kevin MacDonald April 20, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Thank you to President Obama for the federal support and to our Governor for his leadership and decision making to shut down the MBTA and the cabs. Thank you to the many law enforcement agencies that are protecting and serving our State.
Tammy F. April 20, 2013 at 03:53 AM
Epitome of the American spirit and the fact that attack and it only makes us stronger. Wrong move and jeez - they couldn't have picked a tougher group of people to mess with. Boston area cops? What idiots. Watched all the details from my home in Maryland but have visited the Boston area more than once. Kudos!
mike b April 20, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Congrats from Buffalo N.Y. You Got Him! Prayers go out to all of you!!!
Brooklyn Lowery (Editor) April 20, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Awesome words, Charile. Thanks so much for sharing!
kathy sperling April 20, 2013 at 04:19 AM
My heart goes out to all the victims in the Boston bombing . My family and i visited there in '96 and we fell in love with Boston .Kudos 100 x over to All the persons that participated in capturing the 2nd suspect. --kappykidlet@aol.com
Denise D April 20, 2013 at 04:34 AM
Thank you to the law enforcement agencies and federal government in this great country of america for everything they have done. We can rest assure this will only make americans prouder and stand tall together. God bless america!!!
Mark Ouellette (Editor) April 20, 2013 at 08:41 AM
Comments have been removed from this thread for masking swears, cussing and other violations of Patch's Terms of Use: www.patch.com/terms. Keep your remarks on point and avoid juvenile name-calling or your comments will be removed for violating the Terms of Use. Thanks.
Just_Trolling April 20, 2013 at 08:42 AM
Well greg....that clearly goes to show that you have no flipping clue what you're talking about...some people should have to get their parents permission before they post comments on the internet. The house he where he was hiding was OUTSIDE of the parameter that was searched and no LE were being sent home...they were all still right where they needed to be. Also, I'm pretty sure they didn't "let" him escape the first firefight...he got away from them. When you in the middle of a firefight with a couple of fugitives whom you believe to have suicide vests strapped to them and you bring them to justice, THEN you can pass judgement okay?? Lastly, learn to spell, it's kudos, not cudos, now run along and go back to whatever little boys do when they're not stirring up trouble on the internet.
Just_Trolling April 20, 2013 at 08:56 AM
I'll start off by saying my thoughts and prayers have been with the people of Boston, the people who attended/ran the marathon, and the people of West, Texas this week. All of you have made our country proud. To Boston, I haven't been there, but you are now on the top of my list of cities I would like to visit. You have shown the world what Americans are made of, and for that the rest of us thank you, you've done us proud. I am thrilled you'll all be able to sleep a little easier tonight knowing that at least these two criminals are out of commission. To all the law enforcement personnel who took part in the man-hunt, KUDOS!! You guys/gals were fantastic!! You were like pitbulls, and I mean that in the best way. I hope you are all in your own beds getting some well deserved rest tonight. To the victims and families of these creeps, I hope you will heal and find solace in knowing that there are at least two less terrorists in the world tonight who can't create any additional havoc in this world we live in. You will continue being in my thoughts and prayers. California may be on the other side of the country, but we're so proud to call Boston part of our country...you've done a great job of being the best of the best Americans. Your pride, resolve, and patriotism have shown the world what this country is about, so again, thank you.
Wendy Schapiro April 20, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Well done, Charlie. Reading your words on this subject over the past couple of days has been a real pleasure, and I will continue to be impressed with your ability to balance great reporting with the understandable expression of your very human feelings on a subject so close to home.
Newton Girl April 20, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Glued to my tv all day yesterday. This has been such a horribly sad week here in Mass. Fantastic job to all those that helped with their capture. We can all sleep better this weekend.
Mel Schneidman April 20, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I lived in Boston for over 30 years, moved to California for warmer weather the past 8 years but my heart was always still in Boston so had thoughts of moving back. Came back to Boston to visit and arrived the weekend before the Marathon bombings. After spending this week here and observing the spirit, classiness, grace, strength, kindness and comraderie among Bostonians, I know this is where I belong. It's the best city in the world, best people - to hell with the weather!!!!! Going back to Cali, packing up my stuff and heading back HOME. I'm so proud, lots of bragging rights have occurred this past week with my California friends. My favorite words to describe Boston and it's citizens - grace, class, and strength. Mel
J.R. April 20, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Very well put Kevin. I'd like to add my thanks to the first responders and to the staff members of our local hospitals. They showed us what thorough preparation can do. Their compassion and dedication are unmatched anywhere.


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