Funeral director: Search continues for place to bury Boston bombing suspect
The death of Boston Marathon bomb plotter Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been ruled a homicide.
The New York Times
WORCESTER, Mass. — Boston Marathon bomb plotter Tamerlan Tsarnaev died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma, according to his death certificate.
A copy of the document, signed by Dr. Henry Nields, chief medical examiner for Massachusetts, was on file at Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, where Tsarnaev’s body is being kept.
Tsarnaev, 26, died April 19 after a shootout with police officers, not long after the FBI released grainy surveillance photographs showing him and his brother, Dzhokhar, at the marathon.
Three people died and more than 260 were wounded in the April 15 bombing.
The certificate says an autopsy has been performed, but Peter Stefan, the owner of the funeral home, said he expected another to take place before the burial. He said he had been contacted by lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who told him they wanted a second autopsy performed. The death has been ruled a homicide.
As of Saturday, Stefan said he had not found a cemetery that would accept the body. He said he was seeking help from state and federal authorities. “If you don’t want to bury the body, give me another option,” Stefan said with some frustration. “What am I going to do?”
He has been widely criticized for accepting Tsarnaev’s body, and on Saturday his funeral parlor was guarded by a police detail. The funeral home also received at least a dozen calls from individuals wanting to make donations to assist with the burial, Stefan said. The funeral home said individuals should instead donate to the bombing’s victims through the One Fund Boston.
The night of the shootout, authorities say, the Tsarnaev brothers also shot and killed a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Collier, and then stole a car in Boston, which they eventually drove to nearby Watertown.
There, officials say, the brothers threw explosives and exchanged gunfire with the police before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, climbed back into the car and drove off, running over his brother.
The younger brother was apprehended the next evening in Watertown and is being held at a federal medical prison.
The certificate says Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death was “gunshot wounds of torso and extremities” and cites “blunt trauma to head and torso.” It says Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “shot by police then run over and dragged by motor vehicle.” He was pronounced dead April 19 at 1:35 a.m. after being taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
In a related development, the Homeland Security Department ordered border agents “effective immediately” to verify that every international student who arrives in the U.S. has a valid student visa, according to an internal memorandum.
The new procedure is the government’s first security change directly related to the Boston attack.
The order from a senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, David Murphy, was circulated last week and came after the Obama administration acknowledged a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence in the case was allowed to return to the U.S. in January without a valid student visa.
The student visa for Azamat Tazhayakov had been terminated when he arrived in New York on Jan. 20. But the border agent in the airport did not have access to the information about it in the Homeland Security Department’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.