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Another gunman was in area when MIT officer Collier was killed
 
Jun 16, 2013
 
A recording of police radio activity in Cambridge on the night of the killing of MIT police officer Sean Collier reveals that another gunman was in the area minutes before the first call of "officer down."

The FBI has alleged that Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev killed Collier, although there are no reports of any witnesses or surveillance photography. MIT has issued a call for potential witnesses to the shooting to step forward.

The description of the armed suspect who robbed the 7-11 at 750 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, is of a 5"11' Hispanic male wearing a black jacket, jeans, and a black cowboy hat. 7-11 corporate spokesperson Margaret Chabris has confirmed that the suspect in the robbery looked nothing like either of the Tsarnaev brothers, the prime suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Referring to the store's surveillance photography, Chabris told USA Today on April 19, the day one brother was killed and the other captured:

"The suspect in the photos for that particular 7-Eleven robbery looks nothing like the suspects [in the Boston bombing]."

The 7-11 store was robbed at gunpoint about 14 minutes before the call is heard reporting "officer down," at approximately 10:20pm according to an NPR timeline of the events. "Officer down" is heard at 10:34pm in the below recording (about 5 minutes into the bottom Youtube timestamp.) It was widely reported previously that the Tsarnaev brothers' rampage began with the robbery of the 7-11, just under a mile away from where Collier was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, including to the head.

The Hispanic male is mentioned a number of times, including in an exchange asking for suspects in the area where Collier was found.

Charges have not yet to been filed in the death of Collier, against the surviving brother Dzhokhar. There is no mention of Collier in the criminal complaint against Dzhokhar, which has been filed by the FBI in Boston federal court. On April 25th, the Middlesex County DA also issued a call for witnesses to the shooting. WCVB Boston reported:

"Investigators are asking anyone who was in the area or witnessed the shooting that left an MIT police officer dead last week to contact them."

In related news, calls for the FBI to answer questions about the bombing continue. Boston Globe editorial writer Joan Vennochi has continued the call for the FBI to explain why it put out a call for public help in identifying the suspects from surveillance photos, even though the Boston Counter-Terrorism Unit had been investigating Tamerlan, the elder brother, and his family for at least two years. Vennochi wrote in last Sunday's Globe:

"When surveillance photos of Tamerlan Tsarnaev surfaced, why didn’t the FBI agent recognize him from the interview? The photos were released to the public for identification, leading to an intensive manhunt. In the course of it, MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed during an encounter with the Tsarnaev brothers, and a transit police officer almost died from what appears to have been friendly fire during a shoot-out."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on at least two suspected terrorist watch lists. The FBI had been warned about him "multiple times" by Russian intelligence, according to US Senator Richard Burr, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Boston Counter-Terrorism Unit had interviewed Tamerlan at least once in 2011, and has issued a press release acknowledging its two year investigation of him and his family, after at first denying any interactions.

On Thursday April 18 at around 5pm, Boston Special Agent Richard Deslauriers, head of the Boston division, held a press conference to release the surveillance photos of the suspects and said:

"the public will play a critical role in identifying and locating them. Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members of the suspects."

Hours later, that night, the brothers fled from Cambridge in a carjacked vehicle, allegedly killing officer Collier in the process for his gun. Collier's gun was found with him, being secured, police say, by a special kind of lock.


By Ralph Lopez in World
 
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