6 new details from the Boston carjacking victim's terrifying ordeal
And how a gas station's "cash only" policy might have saved his life
By now, most people have heard the basic details of this story: Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, allegedly carjacked a Mercedes SUV, let the driver escape, and then were eventually confronted by police in Watertown, Mass., where Tamerlan died in a shootout and Dzhokhar escaped only to be caught later that evening.
But in the middle of that drama was the carjacking victim — a 26-year-old Chinese immigrant who is calling himself only "Danny." He sat down with Eric Moskowitz of The Boston Globe to share his story. Be sure to read the whole story at the Boston Globe. But in the meantime, a few of the most compelling details:
1. Tamerlan bragged about killing peopleAccording to Danny, Tamerlan was proud of the devastation he had caused. He reportedly asked Danny if he had heard about the Boston Marathon bombings. When Danny said yes, Tamerlan replied, "I did that. And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."
2. Danny was saved by a "cash only" policy Dzhokhar initially tried to pay for gas at the pump with a credit card, Danny says. After that failed, Dzhokhar knocked on the car window, told Tamerlan it was cash only, and walked away with $50 that Tamerlan had given him.
While waiting for Dzhokhar to return, Tamerlan put his gun in a door pocket to mess with the car's navigation device. That's when Danny ran:
I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seatbelt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn't make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away. I just did it. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seatbelt, jump out...and go. [The Boston Globe]
3. Tamerlan joked about raceTamerlan reportedly told Danny not to look at him, and then asked him if he remembered what he looked like. When Danny said no, Tamerlan laughed and said: "It's like white guys, they look at black guys and think all black guys look the same. And maybe you think all white guys look the same."
4. The Tsarnaev brothers were frustrated by a lack of tunesThe Tsarnaev brothers reportedly flipped through a bunch of music stations on the radio before asking Danny if he had any CDs. Danny, it turns out, only listens to music on his phone, forcing the brothers to put on a CD that sounded "like a call to prayer."
5. Danny pretended to be less successful than he wasAn immigrant from central China, Danny got his master's degree from Northeastern University and was working at a start-up in Kendall Square — which paid him enough to lease the Mercedes ML 350 that had just been carjacked. Danny, however, pretended his car was older than it was and cost less than it did in an attempt to make the Tsarnaevs think he didn't have any money.
The brothers were reportedly upset that a man driving a $50,000 car had only $45 in his wallet. Later, they would force him to give up his ATM code so they could withdraw more cash.
6. Police had two ways to track the bombing suspectsAfter Danny sprinted across the street to a Mobil station, he made sure to tell police that he had left his iPhone in the Mercedes, which was also equipped with Mercedes' personal assistance system mbrace. Both of them could be used to track the car's location. Police soon found the suspects and killed Tamerlan in a shootout.