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CBS News: Boston Bombing Suspect Conscious, Talking To Authorities

Miller: Authorities Believe Tsarnaev May Have Attempted Suicide Before Capture
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 (FBI)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 (FBI)

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Marathon Bombings

BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) – Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was conscious Sunday night, and was responding in writing to authorities, CBS News has confirmed with law enforcement officials.

No further details on what authorities were asking Tsarnaev, or his responses were available Sunday night, CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr reported.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remained hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston Sunday night under heavy guard.

And as for actually getting Tsarnaev to talk verbally, that may be impossible, several sources have said.

Tsarnaev had been shot in the throat – possibly in a self-inflicted wound. The wound was an exit wound to the back of the neck, and investigators said he lost so much blood from that wound and another in his leg that he may not have survived if he had not been found in time.

But as it stands now, multiple sources from hospital representatives to lawmakers have said he might never speak again, according to published reports.

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said questioning Tsarnaev might not be possible.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Tsarnaev’s injuries are preventing a prolonged interrogation of any kind.

When asked if he thought Tsarnaev was going to pull through, Davis told CBS News’ Scott Pelley, “I wouldn’t comment.” When asked whether the wounds were serious enough that Tsarnaev might not make it, Davis said, “They are serious wouds.”

But the FBI has a lot of questions for Tsarnaev.

“The FBI still really wants to ask him about the plot – how the bombs were built, and how the brothers initially escaped detection,” CBS News’ Orr reported.

Meanwhile, investigators have been collecting evidence at crime scenes in Boston and Watertown, Mass., in order to bring charges against Tsarnaev, which sources said could come early this week.

The most serious charge available to federal prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence.

CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller said the suspect might have attempted suicide before he was captured.

“Of course, he and his brother were in a big shootout, but they’re saying that wound to the back of the neck is very possibly a suicide attempt. They say it appears from the wound that he might have stuck a gun in his mouth and fired and actually just went out the back of his neck without killing him,” Miller said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was pulled from a tarp-covered boat in a Watertown backyard. The capture came at the end of a tense Friday that began with his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, dying in a gun battle with police.