Obama hails capture of Boston bombing suspect

President says arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 'closed an important chapter' in the tragedy

US president Barack Obama speaks to reporters from the White House in Washington following the capture of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US president Barack Obama speaks to reporters from the White House in Washington following the capture of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Sat, Apr 20, 2013, 09:07

The capture of a second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings “closed an important chapter in this tragedy,” President Barack Obama said this morning.

But he acknowledged that many unanswered questions remain about the motivations of the two men accused of perpetrating the attacks that unnerved the nation.

“The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers,” said Mr Obama, who branded the suspects “terrorists”.

The president spoke from the White House briefing room just over an hour after law enforcement officials apprehended 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

His capture capped a frenzied week in Boston, Washington and elsewhere around the country.

Letters addressed to Mr Obama and Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi were found to contain traces of poisonous ricin in tests. That evoked parallels to the anthrax attacks that followed the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001.

And a massive explosion levelled a Texas fertiliser plant, leaving at least 14 people dead and more than 200 injured.

In his remarks, Mr Obama told the people of West, Texas, that “they are not forgotten”.

But he focused the bulk of his comments on the day’s events in Massachusetts, saying the nation owed a debt of gratitude to law enforcement officials and the city of Boston.

Mr Obama urged the public against rushing to judgment as officials seek answers to the many questions that remain.

“When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right,” he said.

“That’s why we take care not to rush to judgment - not about the motivations of these individuals, certainly not about entire groups of people.”

The president’s praise for law enforcement was echoed by Republican leaders in Congress.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner of Ohio called their actions “a job well done under trying circumstances”.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the US “marvelled at the co-ordination, skill, and bravery of military, intelligence, and law enforcement officials at every level”.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano commended national, state and local law enforcement officials and emergency services crews “who have been and continue to work tirelessly to get to the bottom of the senseless attacks in Boston, and defend and protect the American public”.

AP

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