BOSTON (CBSNewYork) — The man who was carjacked by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects broke his silence Tuesday to CBS News.
The 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, who calls himself “Danny,” had just pulled over in his new Mercedes on a Boston street to send a text message when a man jumped in, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“I thought it was just a robbery, you know?” Danny told CBS News senior correspondent John Miller. “He took out his gun, pointed to me. He told me that ‘You know I am serious. Don’t be stupid.'”
But Danny quickly realized it was more than a mere robbery.
“He asked me a question, like, ‘Do you know the Boston explosion on Monday?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, you know, ‘I did that. And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.'”
The carjacker who confronted Danny was Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He and his brother, Dzhokhar, then loaded their remaining bombs into the car as they spoke to each other in Russian, Danny said.
Danny said he did not understand much of their conversation.
“I only heard one word. It’s ‘Manhattan,'” he said. “It seemed like they were going to New York because they asked me a lot of questions.”
En route to a gas station, Danny’s phone rang. It was his roommate, who wondered why he wasn’t home.
At that point, Danny said, Tamerlan Tsarnaev pulled a gun out.
“If you don’t want me to pick up the phone, I won’t pick it up. I won’t say anything,” Danny remembered telling Tamerlan. “He told me that you have to answer the phone, but if you use any single world in Chinese, I will kill you.”
When the roommate heard Danny speaking English, he answered in Chinese. He said, “Why are you speaking in English? Are you OK?” Danny said.
“I just told him I’m going to sleep over at a friend’s place tonight,” Danny said. “So after, I hang up the phone. Tamerlan was very happy. He said, ‘Good job. Good boy.'”
Danny said at some point he started thinking about his exit strategy.
“I have a lot of things to do,” he said he remembered thinking. “I have to unlock the door. I have to unfasten my seat belt. I have to pull the handle on the door.”
At the gas station, Dzhokhar left the car to pay as Tamerlan fiddled with the GPS. Danny said he knew it might be his last chance.
“I was counting,” Danny said. “I was counting. I was just, ‘one, two, three, four.’ And I just do it. And I did it. I can feel Tamerlan trying to grab me … I was just running as fast as I can and I never look back.”
He ran across the street to a Mobil gas station and pleaded with the clerk on duty to call 911.
“Carjacking occurred at Rich & Shell, 1-0-0-1 Cambridge Street,” the police scanner said. “The victim fled the car at the Mobil on Memorial Drive.”
Miller told Danny he was “the hero in this story,” but Danny did not agree.
“What I was doing was trying to save myself. The police, they are the hero. They exchange gunfire with the bad guys. I think they are the heroes,” he said.
While Danny escaped safely, his 2013 Mercedes sport-utility vehicle was not so lucky. Police used the car’s GPS to track it to where they cornered the Tsarnaev brothers in the shootout that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.
The car sustained 32 bullet holes, and the Daimler Leasing Company said a month and a half into Danny’s deal for the vehicle, it was a total loss.
The remarks about Manhattan may have been significant. The city was notified by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force last week that the Tsarnaev brothers, planned to attack Times Square.
Miller said Danny’s remarks seemed to indicate that the suspects were acting alone at the time.
“What we learned from them is more what they didn’t do than what they did. They didn’t appear to be making phone calls and reaching out to third parties,” Miller said. “Nothing he saw revealed that they were reporting to any “Mr. Big” or wider network.”
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