Watertown, Mass., resident David Henneberry’s name was on many people’s lips Saturday, as the man who called police to say bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be hiding in his back yard was hailed as a hero. Massachusetts State Police have now released images that show what the authorities saw from a police helicopter as a wounded Tsarnaev hid under a tarp.
The photos show how the State Police Air Wing helicopter’s forward-looking infrared sensors picked up the suspect’s body heat as he lay in the boat’s cockpit area. A law enforcement vehicle eventually approached the boat, and flash-bang grenades were deployed to help subdue the suspect.
Just before Tsarnaev was discovered, a lockdown on a nearby area was lifted. And Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Col. Timothy P. Alben tells The Republican that before the call came in, many of the hundreds of police personnel who had been looking for Tsarnaev and his brother, who died early Friday in a gun battle with police, were starting to lose energy.
“Their bodies were telling them to go home, but their hearts were telling them to stay. Everyone’s eyes were red. They were so tired,” he said.
But then came the call from Henneberry, who had used the respite from the lockdown to step outside — where he noticed that the covering that had protected his boat all winter was no longer closed. After pulling a ladder up to the boat’s side for a better look, he also saw blood.
Henneberry, identified by USA Today as a “a retired New England Telephone worker,” has seemingly declined all interviews. His side of the story has largely been told by his stepson, Robert Duffy.
As Duffy tells CNN, after Henneberry saw that a cord holding the tarp had been cut, he “basically stuck his head under the tarp (and) noticed a pool of blood.”
He also saw what looked like a figure, possibly a man, Duffy says. That’s when Henneberry called the police.
“We were all so exhausted but it was the last of many, many leads that had not panned out for us before,” Alben said.
After police arrived, an exchange of gunfire broke out. The authorities were also concerned Tsarnaev might detonate an explosive device. But officials, including an FBI hostage rescue team, eventually succeeded in apprehending the suspect.
While Henneberry may be a hero, his neighbor, George Pizzuto, says Henneberry is probably not very happy about the condition of his boat, which reportedly sustained damage in the ordeal.
“That boat’s his baby. He takes care of it like you wouldn’t believe. And they told him it’s all shot up,” Pizzuto told ABC’s WHAM 13 News. “He’s going to be heartbroken.”
But as Duffy told CNN and other news outlets, the damage to the boat was the least of his family’s worries Friday night. As he watched the news on TV, Duffy was unable to contact his mother and stepfather to be sure they were safe. Eventually he heard from his sister, saying that the couple was fine — and that the lockdown that had paralyzed the Boston area was now over.