NEW YORK — The Boston Marathon bombers were headed for New York to blow up their remaining explosives in Times Square before they were intercepted by police in a blazing gunbattle, officials said Thursday.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his older brother had decided spontaneously last Thursday night to drive to New York and launch an attack. In their stolen SUV they had five pipe bombs and a pressure-cooker explosive like the ones that blew up at the marathon, Kelly said.
The plan fell apart when the Tsarnaev brothers got into a shootout just outside Boston that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead, Kelly said.
“We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “We’re just thankful that we didn’t have to find out that answer.”
Dzhokhar, 19, is charged with carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260, and he could get the death penalty.
Investigators and lawmakers briefed by the FBI have said that the Tsarnaev brothers — ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the U.S. for about a decade — were motivated by anger over the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.