Report Cities Police “Weapons Discipline” Issues After Marathon Bombing


A new Massachusetts state report called the overall emergency response to the Boston Marathon bombings a “great success,” but said some police fired recklessly in the shootout with the suspects at Watertown, Ma., and that officers were deployed chaotically in the ensuing manhunt, the Boston Globe reports. More than 2,500 officers from New England and New York arrived in Watertown, many without orders to do so, the report said. The first officers who confronted the Marathon bombers acted appropriately, the report said, but a swarm of police who followed often failed to identify targets before firing. The cascade of gunshots created dangerous crossfire during two intense encounters.

More than 200 shots were fired during the shootout shortly after midnight on April 19, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the bombers, was killed when his brother, Dzhokhar, struck him in a stolen SUV while fleeing from the gunfire. Dzhokhar later escaped on foot into a backyard. “Weapons discipline was lacking by the multitude of law enforcement officers in the field during both the firefight with the two suspects … and the standoff with the second suspect who was hiding in a winterized boat in a residential back yard,” the report said. “There was no command or management structure formally assigned to manage incoming mutual-aid personnel,” the report said. “Officers were not assigned roles within the operation or provided briefings on the situation or command structure. This caused logistical issues, command and control issues, and officer safety issues.”

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