President Obama praised Bostonians for the capture of the suspected terrorist bomber Friday night, even as he issued a plea for the public not to rush to judgment about the suspects’ possible motives.
“Whatever hateful agenda drove these men to such heinous acts will not, cannot, prevail,” Mr. Obama said at the White House. “Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they’ve already failed.”
Mr. Obama said the terrorists failed because Boston and the nation refused to be intimidated. And then Mr. Obama spoke about the importance of Americans’ spirit “staying true to the unity and the diversity that makes us strong.”
“It’s important that we do this right,” he said of the pending prosecution of the suspected bomber. “That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts. That’s why we have courts. 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 suspect, 19-year-old suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen, was captured alive after police surrounded his hideout inside a boat stored for the winter in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. His older brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed Thursday night in a shootout with police.
Authorities believe the brothers detonated bombs Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three persons and injuring more than 160 others. At a prayer service Thursday, Mr. Obama rebuked the suspected terrorists as “small, stunted individuals.”
The FBI told CBS News Friday that its agents investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 after receiving a report from a foreign government, possibly Russia, that he had ties to extremists. CBS said the FBI interviewed the immigrant, found nothing unusual and essentially forgot about him.
As news of the arrest spread Friday night, jubilant crowds congregated on the streets of Boston and chanted “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” The city and surrounding towns had been on a virtual lockdown since Thursday night as police conducted a massive manhunt for the remaining suspect.
In his continued plea against a rush to judgment, Mr. Obama said America and Boston are great because “we welcome people from all around the world — people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe.”
“As we continue to learn more about why this tragedy happened, let’s make sure we sustain that spirit,” the president said.
The president praised the bravery of law enforcement officials and of Bostonians.
“Because of their efforts, we’ve closed an important chapter in this tragedy,” he said.
Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, praised law enforcement agencies for going “above and beyond to apprehend the Boston bombing suspect.”
“We have gained many examples of courage and character,” Mr. Boehner said. “Humbled and inspired, let us now turn all our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. God bless America.”