NBC: Boston bombing suspect communicating - WFLA News Channel 8

NBC: Boston bombing suspect communicating

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Police captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, Friday night. Police captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, Friday night.
BOSTON, MA (WFLA) -

Despite a serious throat wound that prevents him from speaking, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is beginning to respond to questions from investigators, federal officials tell NBC News.

Monday afternoon marks one week since two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 180. There'll be a moment of silence today at 2:50 p.m., the time the first bomb exploded.

Meanwhile, authorities are waiting to question the widow of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed Friday while trying to get away from police. 

An attorney for the widow of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says she didn't know her husband was a suspect until she saw it on TV. The attorney says Katherine Tsarnaev worked up to 80 hours a week as a home healthcare aide and Tamerlan Tsarnaev stayed home to take care of their toddler daughter.

Authorities haven't yet been able to question the widow.

Nearly 48 hours after he was taken into custody following an intense gun battle and manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was communicating with a special team of federal investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He was responding to questions mostly in writing because of the throat wound, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect remains in serious condition. 

The throat wound may be the result of a suicide attempt, investigators said.

Officials are hoping to glean more information about the blasts Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and learn whether Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, received assistance from others.

Word that the wounded suspect is communicating with authorities came as a surprise, especially after details about the severity of his throat wounds began to emerge earlier in the day. 

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told an interviewer that "we don't know if we'll ever be able to question the individual."

Law enforcement sources had said earlier they were putting the final touches on charges against Tsarnaev and would announce them Sunday. However, Justice Department officials said late in the day, that charges would not be announced until Monday at the earliest. They did not give a reason for the delay.

Authorities have told NBC News that a special high value detainee interrogation team will question Tsarnaev without advising him of his Miranda rights. A "public safety exemption" allows investigators to question a suspect without being informed of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning when it is thought that he or she might have vital information about a threat to public safety.

Also on Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said that surveillance video clearly puts Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the scene of the attack.

"It does seem to be pretty clear that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion," Patrick said on "Meet the Press." "It's pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly."

Patrick noted that while he personally hadn't viewed the video recordings, he was briefed by law enforcement on their contents.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was identified by the FBI as Suspect 1. He was killed in a firefight with police following a wild chase into the suburb of Watertown on Thursday night.

The brothers hurled a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the two that went off at the marathon during the firefight, Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau said on Saturday. The men were in two cars when confronted by a lone police officer, Deveau said, and later threw four grenade-like explosives at pursuing officers.

Much remained unknown on Sunday about what might have driven the two suspects to violence. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have traveled under an alias when he took a trip to Russia in 2012.

That trip may have been when Tamerlan Tsarnaev "got that final radicalization to push him to commit acts of violence and where he may have received training," said committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

Also, crime scene units returned to the scene of Monday's twin explosions that brought an annual springtime rite to an end in screams and smoke. Debris and trash not far from the bomb site on Boylston Street were taken away in garbage trucks on Sunday after being sifted for evidence.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Sunday he has not seen evidence to link the bombings to any militant or terrorist group, and declined to speculate on whether or not Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be sent to Guantanamo Bay.

"We just don't have the facts, and until we get the facts, then it will be the responsibility of law enforcement, DOJ, and other institutions to make some determination as to how that individual should be treated, detained, charged, and all that goes with it," Hagel said. "But right now we just don't know enough about it."

Investigators are taking a look at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's behavior after he returned to the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth after the Monday bombings, Gov. Patrick said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

"There is evidence of some frankly kind of normal student behavior in those ensuing days, which when you consider the enormity of what he was responsible for certainly raises a lot of questions in my mind and as I say more to the point in the minds of law enforcement as well," Patrick said. "Those are the kinds of leads that still have to be pursued and run to ground."

In Boston, the hunt for the suspected perpetrators gave way to a time to mourn a week after the attacks. A funeral for marathon victim Krystle Campbell, 29, a restaurant manager, is scheduled for Monday at St. Joseph Church in her home town of Medford, Mass.

Menino and Patrick along with the central charitable One Fund Boston called for a minute of silence at 2:50 p.m. Monday to mark a week since the bombings. Bells will ring throughout the city and Massachusetts after the minute's passage, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

One person injured in the marathon blast was released from the hospital on Sunday, though 52 are still receiving treatment in Boston hospitals, with three in critical condition.

About 36,000 runners participated in the London Marathon on Sunday amid heightened security, many of them wearing black ribbons to commemorate the victims in Boston or carrying "For Boston" signs.

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