A year after the gunfight between officers and the Tsarnaev brothers in Watertown, 7News went back to the street where it all happened with the first three responding officers who cheated death during the early morning hours of April 19, 2013.
“I drive by this once a shift to remind myself that at any given moment something can change,” Officer Joseph Reynolds said.
Chaos erupted on that street moments after a “BOLO,” a “be on the lookout,” was issued that night.
Police were looking for a black Mercedes SUV that was stolen after a carjacking in nearby Cambridge.
Officer Reynolds spotted the car on Laurel Street.
“They had stopped I was observing them. That’s when one of them got out and started walking toward my cruiser and that’s when he opened fire on me,” Reynolds said.
The man opening fire was one of the Tsarnaev brothers; both wanted for their alleged involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing and the murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.
Within seconds Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese and Sgt. John MacLellan arrived on scene.
“I jumped in the cruiser, put it in gear and I let it float down the street. I believe they thought someone was driving it. The first bomb came, landed on the side of the cruiser,” MacLellan said.
Sgt. Pugliese was out of his cruiser.
“I was between this chain-link fence and this house, I came from the back yard and I could see the two brothers right here in front of the vehicle. I took four or five shots I wasn’t sure if I was having any effect on them or not. That’s when Tamerlan realized I was here, left his cover, ran up the street in between this vehicle and the fence line. He came up we were about six feet apart from each other. We were exchanging gunfire, I ran out of ammunition I had to reload, he was continuing to fire at me,” Pugliese said.
Then, Sgt. Pugliese believes, Tamerlan’s gun jammed.
“He looked down at it, he looked back at me, the two of us made eye contact. He threw his gun at me, hit me in the left bicep here, he turned and ran, took a left and started running up the street,” Pugliese said.
The officers chased Tamerlan, tackled him and were trying to cuff him when they noticed Dzhokhar was back behind the wheel of the stolen car.
“That’s when Officer Reynolds said ‘look out, the other one is back in the car and coming at us.’ I could see the headlights down the road. The next thing I know the headlights were right beside my face. I fell back on my back and saw his brother get run over,” Pugliese said.
All three officers said they are thankful all the officers involved in Watertown were safe.