By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
Three days after the Boston bombing, the Tsarnaev brothers "spontaneously" decided to drive to Times Square in a hijacked car to explode their remaining bombs, but were thwarted when the car's owner escaped, triggering a police car chase and shootout, New York's mayor and police commissioner said Thursday.
"We don't know whether we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston, but we are just thankful that we didn't have to find out the answer," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters.
The plan, as allegedly told by suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to investigators in Boston, went awry when the suspects had to stop to get gas for the hijacked Mercedes SUV and the owner slipped out of the vehicle and called police, according to Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelley.
That was Thursday night, only hours after the FBI had released photos of the two suspects, Dzhokhar, 19, and his brother Tamerlan, 26.
Dzhokhar, badly injured, fled the shootout in a second car and eventually hid in a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown, where he was captured Friday night.
In his initial interviews with investigators, Dzhokhar said only that the pair intended to go to Manhattan "to party." The next day, according to Kelley, Dzhokhar changed his story and said they intended to go to New York :that night: to detonate their remaining explosives in Times Square.
Kelley said the brothers still had in their possession a pressure cooker device packed with explosions, like one used at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April15, and six pipe bombs.
Three people were killed and 264 injured in the Boston bombings. An MIT security was also killed during the five-day manhunt.