5:02:21 PMWatertown boat owner David Henneberry tells story of finding Boston Marathon suspect
April 24, 2013 (Recap)
The Watertown man, who found Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in a boat in his backyard ending a week of terror for the region, told NewsCenter 5's Ed Harding exclusively that his one hope is to bring closure to the families of those killed and those who were wounded.
"I'm just glad," Henneberry said as he struggled to control his emotions. "I hate to use clichés. If people who were killed can get some (comfort), then I am at peace with it. If I help these people that lost people, if I can help them in their mind, then everything is good with me here.
Henneberry's first-person account of his discovery of Tsarnaev, 19, differs in one important way from that told by law enforcement the night of the arrest. It was a discovery driven by his obsession with, of all things, the shrink wrap on the boat he calls his "baby," the Slip Away II.
Like all Watertown residents, Henneberry stayed in his Franklin Street home as the hunt for Tsarnaev paralyzed much of eastern Massachusetts on Friday. When he looked out the window at his boat at one point during the day, he noticed something was amiss. "I put pads between the shrink wrap, and it stopped the chaffing and two of those had fallen down to the ground. It was really windy, so I didn't think twice about it," he said. When the "shelter-in-place" order was lifted just after 6 p.m.
Henneberry said he went outside."Go out and get some air. I am just going to put the pads back. They were bugging me all day. So I went out in the yard and felt the freedom that everyone is Watertown was feeling. When I pulled the strap, it was a lot looser than it usually is. But again, the wind could have loosened things up," he said.
Despite official accounts that he saw blood on the outside of the boat, Henneberry said that is not true. "No indication of anything. I know people say I saw blood on the boat, 'He saw blood on the boat.' Not true," he said. "I said OK, everything is fine. There are no visible signs of blood outside the boat.
I went inside," he said. But something was nagging at him and his obsession with his boat soon had him taking another walk into the yard. This time, he put a ladder up to the side of the boat to take a closer look. "I got three steps up the ladder and rolled the shrink wrap. I didn't expect to see anything, but I saw blood on the floor of the boat. A good amount of blood," he said.
"And I said 'Wow, did I cut myself last time?' I thought. I was in the boat a couple of weeks ago. Then I just look over there, and there is more blood," he said. Then he saw Tsarnaev. "And I looked back and forth a couple of times and my eyes went to the engine block and there was a body," he said.
Henneberry said he isn't sure if he immediately realized it was the suspected Marathon bomber hiding in the boat. "I think maybe (I knew), but I didn't want to think that. It's fast," he said.
"I see him lying there just like you see on the film (from the State Police helicopter's infrared camera). He was just lying there by the engine block and the floor. I couldn't see his face. I'm glad I didn't see his face. I didn't see his face. He didn't move," he said.
Henneberry said while he remembers climbing up the ladder to the boat, he does not remember climbing down and rushing to call 911. "I didn't waste any time. I didn't ask him if he wanted a cup of coffee. I was off that ladder. That is all I remember," he said. When Watertown police officers arrived,
Henneberry and his wife were escorted to a neighbor's home away from the siege that soon enveloped his property. "I am lucky I am alive. These other people were killed. Sometimes, I just sit and say, 'Wow,'" he said.
Henneberry is aware of a growing social media movement to buy him a boat to replace the Slip Away II, but he does not want it. "It makes me feel wonderful that people that are thinking like that, but it is my boat. People lost lives and lost limbs. I'd rather that (the money) go to the One Fund Boston.
To buy me a new boat is a wonderful thing, I don't want that really. I would wish that they donate it to the One Fund Boston. They lost limbs. I lost a boat," he said. "Slip Away is slipping away. But I say it did its job. It held a bad guy and is going away like a Viking ship."
By Ed Harding
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