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Police recall chaotic gunfight with accused Boston bombers

Cops recall the gun battle between themselves and Dzhokhar & Tamerlan Tsarnaev after the 2013 Boston bombing.

A screen grab image from CCTV footage released by the FBI of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Picture: FBI.gov

BOSTON - Two police officers on Monday recalled a night of chaos as they battled with the accused Boston Marathon bombers in Watertown, Massachusetts, four days after the attack that killed three people and injured 264.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is on trial for his role in the attac k, and his older brother Tamerlan, fired a gun at three police officers and hurled bombs at them, including one that was similar to the devices used in the 15 April 2013 attack, police officers testified on Monday.

Watertown Police patrolman John Reynolds recalled chasing the brothers in two cars hours after they allegedly shot and killed a police officer in nearby Cambridge, and having a large bomb thrown at him and a colleague as they tried to arrest the Tsarnaevs.

"My ears were ringing, I could hear all the car alarms going off for many blocks around us, there was a huge cloud of smoke," Reynolds testified at U.S. District Court in Boston. "I could feel all the debris landing on me."

The younger Tsarnaev, 21, could be sentenced to death if convicted of the attacks.

His attorneys opened the trial early this month by bluntly admitting that Dzhokhar had carried out the attacks. However, they contended the bombing was driven by Tamerlan, 26, in a bid to persuade the jury to sentence Dzhokhar to life in prison without possibility of parole, rather than death.

The jury saw a photos taken during the gun battle, showing two people that Watertown Police Sergeant John MacClellan identified as the Tsarnaev brothers, crouching in front of a black Mercedes during the gunfight, which played out on a street tightly packed with houses.

Reynolds, MacClellan and a third officer attempted to tackle Tamerlan, who was a trained martial artist, but as they struggled to handcuff him, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sped towards them in the black Mercedes that the brothers had carjacked, running over Tamerlan and dragging him.

While Tamerlan was not immediately killed by the injuries he sustained, Reynolds testified it was still a struggle for him and a second officer to handcuff him. Tamerlan died later that day.

Dzhokhar briefly escaped, ditching the car and hiding in a drydocked boat in a backyard.

The jury began its day Monday by visiting that boat, where Tsarnaev had left a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for U.S. military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries. Two brown streaks, presumably blood, could also be seen.

The boat, held at an undisclosed location and viewed by two pool reporters from the Associated Press and WBUR radio, bore at least 110 bullet holes on all sides from the immense volley of gunfire that had surrounded Tsarnaev's arrest.

Tsarnaev sat quietly and unshackled under a white tent during the viewing.

The bombing killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, and graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, as well as 8-year-old Martin Richard. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 27, was shot dead three days later.

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