BOSTON residents have told of their fear as their neighbourhoods were caught up in the dramatic search for the two brothers thought to be behind Monday’s bombings.
Householders in the area of Watertown witnessed a vicious fire fight as police closed in on ethnic Chechens Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
One man described how he hid in a wardrobe as a bullet pierced his apartment wall and chair.
Kristian Tuinzing heard gunshots and explosions while working at his desk shortly before 1am local time (6am in Britain).
“During the exchange I immediately got on the ground and went into the closet,” he told BBC News. “When I came back out there was actually a hole in my wall, right through a calendar, and through my chair where I’d been sitting.
“The slug came to rest just at the foot of my bed. I heard a sound. I thought something had pinged off my window or something but it was a little bit more severe.”
Mr Tuinzing also said he thought grenades were thrown while his housemate thought he saw something thrown at the police.
Briton Tim Bayley described a “massive police presence” outside his home in the district and said as many as 100 shots were fired.
“Then there were three explosions. They were definitely pretty loud. That was probably about two or three blocks away from my home. I’ve never seen so many police before in my life. I heard at one point, 12 police cars in a row. I must have counted about 40 at each end of my street – absolutely crazy,” he said.
The confrontation between the brothers and police came after surveillance footage showed a man thought to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during a robbery of a convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
University police officer, Sean Collier, was shot dead while responding to a report of a disturbance. The two men then carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge.
The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices and exchanged gunfire with police. A police officer was seriously injured.
Tamerlan, 26, was killed in the shootout, but Dzhokhar, 19, escaped, sparking the manhunt which brought the city to a virtual standstill.
Almost a million residents in the city were warned to stay indoors as thousands of armed police combed the city.
Watertown resident Kayla Dipaolo was yesterday waiting for a bus to take her to safety as part of an emergency operation.
She had been woken overnight by gunfire and a large explosion that sounded “like it was right next to my head ... and shook the whole house.”
The 25-year-old was looking at the front door when a bullet came through the side panelling. SWAT team officers were running all over her yard, she said.
“It was very scary. There are two bullet holes in the side of my house and by the front door there is another.”
Christine Yajko said following the gunfire a police officer later knocked on her door and told her there was an undetonated improvised explosive device in the street and warned her to stay away from the windows. “It was on the street, right near our kitchen window.”
Last night officers were going door-to-door in search of Tsarnaev and Col Timothy Alben, of the Massachusetts State Police, said officers would sweep every street as the search continued.