Edina native, woman from Minn. in middle of high-stakes hunt for Boston suspect

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2013 - 2:47 PM

A long night of drama unfolded early Friday outside the Watertown, Mass., apartment window of Edina native Andrew Kitzenberg as heavily armed law enforcers closed in on the two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

 

A long night of violent drama unfolded early Friday outside the Watertown, Mass., bedroom window of Edina native Andrew Kitzenberg as heavily armed law enforcers closed in on the two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, at one point leading to bullets puncturing his apartment.

The peril for Kitzenberg, 26, reignited shortly after 7:30 a.m. Twin Cities time Friday as he was telling his story in a telephone interview.

“Oh, holy ...” Kitzenberg said. “The suspect might be ... I’m going to have to call you back.”

One of his latest of many tweets, posted shortly before 8 a.m., read: “Suspect may be in 18 oak st. Next door to us. 9 brave people in a basement,” followed by “Evacuated for the 2nd time out of a house on oak st. Laurel st. is still off limits.”

In a text message exchange with the Star Tribune at about 8:30 a.m., Kitzenberg was asked whether it was safe to talk on the phone: “No,” was the sum of his response.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m. CDT, Kitzenberg posted a video showing military helicopters flying over the neighborhood as the meticulous pursuit of the suspect stretched toward afternoon in a 20-block area of Watertown, which also includes the Laurel Street apartment of another native Minnesotan, 32-year-old Meghan Marrer, of St. Cloud.

Boston, nearby Watertown and other surrounding communities are in a war zone of sorts as pursuit of the surviving suspect pressed on after a night of violence that left the other suspect dead. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis made the announcement that the entire city should stay indoors as the remaining suspect, described as a dangerous terrorist, was still on the loose.

The developments came after the suspects killed an MIT police officer overnight, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt, authorities said.

A law enforcement intelligence bulletin obtained by the AP identified the surviving bomb suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who had been living in Cambridge, just outside Boston, and said he “may be armed and dangerous.”

Before cutting off the call, Kitzenberg said he was working at his computer shortly before 1 a.m. and had just turned off the Minnesota Wild hockey game on television, when “I heard gunshots. I peeked through the window and saw two shooters between two cars.”

It was at that point that Kitzenberg, a high school graduate of Breck and then Babson College in Boston, sought safety amid the renewed tension outside his third-floor apartment.

Kitzenberg, an entrepreneur who started a company that makes rubbery wristbands that hold USB flash drives, then fired up his Twitter account and reported that he was now “in the neighbors house on oak st. Cops searching all around us.” He also posted numerous photos and videos as part of his overnight account.

His first tweet early Friday said there were shots “outside my room in Watertown. 62 Laurel st.”

From there, his stream of tweets told of “5 minutes of gunfire and pressure cooker bomb,” “PD claiming IED’s on the street,” “Crashed cop car with all windows shot out in our driveway,” “Bullet hole through our wall and the chair.” Among the photos he put on Twitter was his roommate’s bullet-riddled chair.

Kitzenberg continued to track the movements of police as they went through backpacks, with bomb squad personnel scouring the area and eventually his apartment building being evacuated by “military with assault weapons around 6 We’re all safe.”

Since he began tweeting, Kitzenberg has been picking up followers by the thousands.

In the brief calm that Kitzenberg experienced overnight, he told the New York Times that a suspect had what looked “like a pressure cooker.”

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  • Edina native, woman from Minn. in middle of high-stakes hunt for Boston suspect

    Friday April 19, 2013

    A long night of drama unfolded early Friday outside the Watertown, Mass., apartment window of Edina native Andrew Kitzenberg as...

  • Witness Andrew Kitzenberg, an Edina native who lives in Watertown, Mass., posted this photo to his Twitter account with the caption: Officer are searching on Oak St. just a block from Laurel St.

  • Witness Andrew Kitzenberg, an Edina native who lives in Watertown, Mass., posted this photo to his Twitter account with the caption: Bullet hole through our wall and the chair.

  • Andrew Kitzenberg, and Edina native who lives in Watertown, where the search for a Boston Marathon bombing suspect is centered.

  • Meghan Marrer, of St. Cloud, and Adam Andrew. They are locked down in the Watertown neighborhood.

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