By Yining Su
The Tsarnaev brothers engage in a gun battle with police from behind the hijacked SUV.
The 26 year old Chinese man who was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers, suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, has told his incredible, edge-of-the-seat story to the Boston Globe.
The carjacking victim, who wishes to be identified only by his English name, Danny, was held at gunpoint by the Tsarnaevs and forced to drive them around in his Mercedes SUV.
After 90 minutes, Danny seized an opportunity to escape and was able to alert the police, who tracked the Tsarnaevs using Danny’s iPhone and his SUV’s satellite system, leading to the shootout that killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
When the stolen SUV was found, it contained explosive devices, fuelling suspicion that the suspects were planning another attack, possibly in New York. Danny told the Boston Globe that he heard the brothers say “Manhattan” and that Tamerlan asked him if his car could be driven to New York.
Danny’s ordeal began when he very responsibly pulled over his SUV to the curb in order to respond to a text. That was when he heard a knock on the passenger window. When he lowered it, a man reached in, opened the door, and climbed in while brandishing a gun.
“Don’t be stupid,” he told Danny. He asked if he had followed the news about the previous Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. Danny had, down to the release of the grainy photos of suspects less than six hours earlier.
“I did that,” said the man, who would later be identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev. “And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.”
The Tsarnaevs forced Danny to drive around the Boston area, without much purpose it seems, after they transfered what later turned out to be bombs from a sedan into Danny’s SUV.
Danny got his opportunity to escape when the vehicle ran low on fuel. The station they pulled up at was cash-only, and Dzhokhar had to go pay at the counter. Meanwhile, Tamerlan had put down his gun, and was fiddling with the GPS system. Danny made the split second decision to make a run for it, unbuckling his seatbelt and opening the car door at the same moment and “[running] off at an angle that would be a hard shot for any marksman.”
He ran into a gas station across the street, yelling at the clerk to call the police. (The clerk, Tarek Ahmed, previously told his side of the story to the New York Times.)
There are plenty more interesting details about the incident in the Boston Globe piece. At one point, Danny received a text message in Chinese from his roommate, asking where he was. Tamerlan used a translation app to respond, which only made the roommate more confused. Eventually after repeated calls by the roommate, Tamerlan forced Danny to answer the phone but speak only in English.
Not much has been revealed about Danny. He is an entrepreneur, working on a start-up in Boston. He had originally gone to Boston in 2009 to study engineering at Northeastern University. He doesn’t want attention, but he acknowledges that the public may eventually learn his name if he is called to testify against Dzhokhar.