BOSTON UPDATE: Is Officer Collier’s Killer Still at Large?

Is Officer Sean Collier’s Killer Still at Large?

Is Officer Sean Collier’s Killer Still at Large?

Is it possible that, in the rush to paint Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as cold-blooded killers, the FBI is ignoring evidence that someone else could have killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier?

It is said that the first casualty in war is the truth, and the “war on terror” isn’t exempt.

There are plenty of examples of U.S. government agencies exploiting “the fog of war” to gain a propaganda edge or rally public opinion against whoever happens to be in the crosshairs. Whether it’s immediately pinning the downing of Malaysia air MH17 on Russia, or whether it’s implicating Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in a chemical weapons attack, the ploy works the same way every time: immediately, loudly and repeatedly blame the enemy and ignore all contradictory evidence.

That’s the kind of environment the government has been trying to create through a campaign of leaks, since before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest and indictment on 30 charges including Collier’s murder. Judge George O’Toole Jr. this week rejected a defense motion to move the trial out of Boston on the grounds that too many potential jurors had made up their minds. He also delayed the trial’s start until Jan. 5.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to review some lingering questions surrounding the death of Sean Collier. It’s safe to assume that federal investigators aren’t pushing too hard to uncover an alternative scenario to that unfortunate event, especially now that their evidence will soon be on display at trial.

***

Why is the death of Officer Collier so important? Partly because, as Boston’s police commissioner Edward Davis said, “It was his death that ultimately led to the apprehension. The report of the shot officer led to all those resources being poured in.”

But there is a more important reason: Collier’s murder was linked to the emotionally charged Boston Marathon bombing—based on the assertions of anonymous carjacking victim “Danny.” He claimed the elder Tsarnaev told him they were responsible for both the bombing and the officer’s murder. (For lingering questions about the veracity of “Danny’s” testimony, click here and here.)

Again, it bears repeating that the Tsarnaev brothers very likely were somehow involved in the violence that erupted in and around Boston that week. But did they kill Sean Collier?

We do know that they did not rob a 7-Eleven store. What makes this significant is the fact that the police claimed they did—even after they had conclusive evidence, on film, that someone else had done it. So why should we necessarily believe what they say about who shot Collier?

A False Accusation Backfires

On the night of April 18, 2013, three days after the bombing, a 7-Eleven store was robbed at around 10:30 p.m.  Within minutes, an officer responded and, according to the police report below, got a description of the suspect from the clerk, and viewed the surveillance video himself. He can then be heard broadcasting that very description over the police scanner, which was repeated multiple times over the next half-hour or so:

Once again, that’s a Hispanic male, black coat, a black cowboy hat and jeans.

7-Eleven Robbery Report

Minutes later, reports surfaced of an MIT police officer being shot not far from the 7-Eleven. First responders to that scene thought that whoever held up the 7-Eleven at gunpoint also shot Collier. There was a message sent out soon after the shooting to be on the lookout for:

Hispanic male, possibly wearing a cowboy hat, he was last seen on Vassar Street in Cambridge, six rounds were fired and he is currently armed.

Seen on Vassar Street? That’s where Sean Collier was shot.

Around midnight, Cambridge police received a report of a carjacking that ultimately led to the shootout in neighboring Watertown, Tamerlan’s death, and Dzhokhar’s escape.

***

After the dust settled in Watertown in the early morning hours of April 19, Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben told reporters at a press conference that the Tsarnaev brothers perpetrated all of the violence that occurred in Cambridge and Watertown that night, including the robbery of the 7-Eleven.

During that same press conference he made reference to the photo of Dzhokhar wearing a hoodie, widely circulated by law enforcement, claiming it had been taken by a security camera at the 7-Eleven. Numerous news outlets reported the series of events as exactly that: The brothers committed a robbery at 7-Eleven, shot Officer Collier, hijacked an SUV, and then engaged police in a shootout in Watertown.

But there was one glaring problem with Alben’s account, and 7-Eleven’s director of corporate communications picked up on it. She pointed out to reporters later that day what law enforcement already knew: the security video clearly shows the 7-Eleven suspect’s face—and it looks nothing like either Tsarnaev. In addition, she said the photo of Dzhokhar was not even taken at a 7-Eleven store.

Okay, so they didn’t rob the 7-Eleven. We were told it was just a coincidence; the brothers just happened to be at the convenience store around the time of the robbery, again, according to Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben.

How Did Police Get It So Wrong?

But how did Alben get it so wrong, even though the Cambridge police were in possession of an eyewitness description and a photograph of the real suspect in the robbery? And why did he continue to place Dzhokhar at that same store even though he had been informed that it was a different store?

Robert Haas, the Cambridge police commissioner, can be seen standing behind Alben as he misrepresented evidence from Cambridge during the press conference. Why didn’t he speak up?

And if the 7-Eleven executive had not come forward with the facts, would the police have continued to falsely accuse the Tsarnaevs of the robbery?

In any case, law enforcement insists the Tsarnaevs shot and killed Officer Collier—it was caught on camera. Only in this case, it wasn’t. The security video at MIT does not show the faces of the two assailants, according to three different law enforcement officials.

***

Then there were the early reports that Officer Collier was responding to a disturbance when he was shot. Later, we were told that that report was erroneous. Instead, he was simply sitting in his cruiser watching for people to make illegal turns.

Now, in what appears to be the final iteration, we’re being told that he was positioned where he was in order to keep an eye out for the 7-Eleven suspect, as revealed in a Harvard white paper titled “Why Was Boston Strong?”

Why the effort to hide this simple fact initially?  Did it become clear to law enforcement that connecting Collier shooting in any way to the 7-Eleven robbery might raise some troubling questions?

And another thing: the carjacking took place in the Boston neighborhood of Allston across the river from Cambridge. But it  was originally reported to have occurred at Third Street in Cambridge by the Middlesex County DA, the Cambridge police Commissioner, and the chief of MIT Police. That’s just a couple blocks away from where Collier was shot—and is smack dab in the center of those three law-enforcement officials’ precinct.

How could they possibly get that wrong?

A Clairvoyant FBI?

In a strange twist, Sen. Chuck Grassley revealed that there were “multiple teams of FBI employees” conducting surveillance in and around Central Square around the time this all went down. The 7-Eleven in question happens to be right in the middle of Central Square. The Tsarnaev brothers just happened to pass through that same area, as we learned from Superintendent Alben.

Also, thanks to that Harvard white paper, Cambridge Police discovered “a group of law enforcement officials in a car with out-of-state plates were staking out a location thought to be connected to the assailants [emphasis added].”

Wait, what? Connected to the assailants? How did the FBI know what was connected to the assailants?

Even stranger, the local Boston Fox affiliate discovered that FBI was also conducting surveillance on MIT students then thought to be connected with the bombing.

Doesn’t it seem odd that both the robbery and the shooting took place in areas where FBI surveillance teams were operating—without the knowledge of local law enforcement? Talk about a coincidence.

The Gun

The gun Tamerlan Tsarnaev left in the street after the shootout in Watertown was a P95 Ruger 9mm with an obliterated serial number. It was allegedly given to them by their friend Stephen Silva who was recently arrested for heroin dealing and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.

Officially, there is no evidence that that was the gun used to shoot Collier. However, off the record, law enforcement is telling the media—and therefore the public—that the weapon is one and the same. Either it is the gun, or it isn’t. Why be coy about it?

So, law-enforcement blamed the 7-Eleven robbery on the Tsarnaevs for as long as they could, despite eyewitness description and surveillance photos of a very different suspect. They also blame the shooting of Sean Collier on the Tsarnaev brothers, despite the fact that the security camera does not identify the suspects, and there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting that we know of.

The suspect in the armed robbery of the 7-Eleven is still at large, which begs the question: Is Officer Sean Collier’s murderer also still at large?  (For more on these mysteries, go here, here, here,  and here.)

And with all this uncertainty, why is law enforcement working so hard to pin everything on these two brothers? Could it have something to do with the FBI’s very reluctant admission, forced by the Russians, that it knew who the Tsarnaevs were long ago because the Russians warned them about Tamerlan Tsarnaev—and that the Bureau even interacted with the now dead elder brother?

There is, it seems, much more to this important story that has essentially slipped from the headlines

Correction: The original story misidentified Allston as a suburb of Boston when it is fact a neighborhood of Boston. We have fixed the error.

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18 responses to “BOSTON UPDATE: Is Officer Collier’s Killer Still at Large?”

  1. musings2 says:

    Oh, and one more thing. When a policeman (campus police? Cambridge? FBI?) entered the building at MIT next to where Collier’s cruiser was parked, the Gehry building whose courtyard now has the huge Collier memorial at the spot where he was shot, he asked some people what they heard. They heard shots. But the building was not put in immediate lockdown. It is a huge, complicated building with an underground parking lot and several floors, but not that many entrances and exits. Someone could well have been hiding inside, yet this was not a priority (whereas every place else there is a shooting and a fleeing suspect, it seems, they do shut the place down to search). It sounded like they already had their suspects and the questions were perhaps a mere formality, perhaps something more sinister.

  2. Kevin says:

    Within 20 minutes of the shooting…Breaking and entering at 5 Hancock place resident reporting someone locked in the bathroom…audio on the Cambridge PD scanner…but no police report of the incident…blocks away from 711 robbery…request for the “alpha car”…Also Stata Center/CSAIL/BigData…disturbance?

  3. fromaway46 says:

    Any article based on the premise that Collier was ever killed is worthless.

  4. ICFubar says:

    All very interesting and relevant points brought forward here. It’s just too bad the authorities have all the answers to their own questions which point to the guilt of Tsarnaev and a judge who will undoubtedly see it their way by blocking any countervailing questions such as these. They meant to kill Dzhokhar in the boat but somehow he managed to survive and emerge relatively unscathed. Now the authorities mean to finish the job. Too much is riding on any other outcome.

    • Danielle Davito says:

      Relatively unscathed?Why do you think they waited until July to have his Indictment Hearing?They didn’t want anyone to see what they had done to him.His attorneys were even denied the request to photograph him.He was shot 11 times.He obviously had his ‘hands up’ at the time,if the bullet pattern is taken into account.He was shot 5 times in the left arm,shattering his forearm.look at photos of him languishing on the side of the boat.His hand is ‘facing’ the wrong direction.His thumb and pinky are on opposite sides of where they should.There is no bone structure,so his hand is just dangling there.He was also shot 3 times in the right arm.The sniper ‘death shot’ that was meant for his brain stem,passed through his cheek,barely missing brain stem,exiting through the back of his skull,and nicking his vertebrae #1.Apparently 2 snipers on a roof were arguing over who was supposed to take the shot it .The only gunshot wounds he sustained while lying in the boat,were 2 to his ankles,since that was the ‘thinnest’ part of the boat.After being dragged from the boat,they(?) attempted to slice his carotid artery,from behind the ear down,missing it by an 1/8th inch.During an interview with Anderson Cooper,MBTA Officer Campbell states that D’s neck appears to have been ‘sliced’.Not to mention the 3(?) percussion grenades that were shot into the boat.Divine Intervention is why that kid survived.I don’t think God’s going to let him down now.

  5. walter says:

    Let’s recall the pattern – and J.D.Tippit – in Dallas… So, is this parts of another “action”? a”Gladio C” ? This is an old trick…and obvious.

  6. omniadeo says:

    I find it worth noting that Russ Baker and WWW are now critically involved in the journalistic investigations of both the JFK Assassination and the Boston Bombing. At the moment these are the alpha and omega of the great modern “conspiracy” investigations. (For the record, I see nothing wild, negative or inaccurate in that term, its misuses aside.)

    For some decades I have lived with the knowledge, as sure as any historical knowledge can be, that the Kennedy assassination was not seriously investigated by the Warren Commission, and that the truly very difficult questions begged by the official story were never posed or addressed–ever–in any serious way in the major media.

    Now here I am decades later, parsing the dribs and drabs of what we are allowed to hear about another latest watershed event in the long slide into our militarization. I cheer Russ baker on and admire him immensely. But I can’t help think how many similar stories I have heard between 1963 and now. There was the RFK assassination, the MLK assassination, Watergate (about which Baker also writes insightfully). There were the neo-Nazi death squads in Latin America. There was the La Prensa bombing. There was Iran Contra and a slough of CIA cocaine stories. There were the psy-ops buildup to a few wars, some of which I myself have a hard time remembering. (Quick: what was Operation Just Cause?). There were suspicious deaths before too: Danny Casolaro, Deborah Jean Palfrey, Nick Berg, to name a few as they float to the top of my head. There were many more. One doesn’t even need to pull out the monster, 911, either, but it’s surely there. Just the unanswered questions about the anthrax scare at the same time might require days of research to untangle the facts from the confusion.

    I am just throwing this out here: As important as it is to investigate the journalistic details of each individual event, the time is right to construct responsible and historically accurate meta-narratives of the entire era from the point of view of this ignored research.

  7. Crime Reporter says:

    There are two more issues I wish someone would address:

    1. How is it possible, with a looming “trial of the century” that the MIT Police Department was allowed to destroy evidence?

    At least one story has reported that Sean Collier’s cruiser was destroyed and his badge retired. The original article discussing the destroyed cruiser is no longer online, but someone screen-shotted it and posted it here: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1326/9021/original.jpg It seems to me the cruiser is a crime scene and should have been preserved, even after any initial processing, in case the defense needed something else tested.

    2. Why would the police be allowed to, again, destroy evidence, by taking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s 1999 Honda Civic back to the MIT crime scene to do reenactments? http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/01/17991679-green-honda-could-prove-crucial-if-tsarnaev-charged-in-mit-officers-killing

    I’ve never heard of such a thing. That Honda, like the cruiser, should have been processed and then preserved. Law enforcement shouldn’t be contaminating it by driving it around in a reenactment!

    The issue here is this: if law enforcement had been so shoddy about their treatment of evidence in this crime, what else have then been shoddy about?

    • Guest says:

      These are important points you make. While Tsarnaev’s lawyers reportedly traveled to Russia, perhaps their investigative search should focus not too far from the marathon finish line in the immediate Boston area to include why MIT has destroyed evidence. At the time of the bombing, questions focused on and circulated about who the guys in khaki pants with black backpacks were….turns out they were Army National Guard soldiers. The MA Army National Guard has a long history of providing security/crowd control for the marathon along with the Boston police; a fair number of Guard soldiers are Civilian police officers with the Boston Police and other local police departments to include Federal agencies. Most Army Guard soldiers, in this case, here in Massachusetts, grew up in Massachusetts which differentiates it from active duty bases which consists of companies/battalions of soldiers from all over the country. In other words, the local MA Army Guard soldiers have a working history with local law enforcement at every level many of whom know eachother quite well. Heck, even Tsarnaev’s boss at the Harvard pool grew up in Boston and is in the MA Army National Guard. The boxing club that Tsarnaev trained out of in South Boston is frequented by law enforcement officers and veterans…a few street wise characters too, I’m sure. Forget about traveling to Russia, I’d focus my investigaton right here in Boston, to include why MIT is reportedly getting rid of evidence.

    • Crime Reporter says:

      MIT is very much more than a backdrop to this story. I just wish I knew what it was.

    • musings2 says:

      Here’s an interesting tidbit. The intersection of Vassar St. and Main (Vassar runs by the Gehry building) was until recently named Danny Lewin Square. He was supposedly a hero of 9/11 for engaging the hijackers on Flight 11, but was immediately killed. I don’t know how they knew, but that was the story. He was also a billionaire Akamai executive and founder. At some point before the square was rededicated, an accident knocked out the sign that said “Danny Lewin Square” and the sign did not get replaced, but there is a new one. It is called “Officer Sean Collier Square.” Make of it what you will.

      When I think of the ever-changing details of the narratives of both 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing and its sequelae, I am reminded of the film “The Usual Suspects.” It’s a lot of stuff that I think they made up as they went along, and the carjacking story seems the most preposterous.

  8. Seneca Wolf says:

    And now they’ve paid a witness $66000 to testify about this gun, obviously they really really want to connect it. The Danny story is also strange because it means they would have had to carjack a vehicle (even though they owned 2) drive away in it and load all their explosives in it and then for some reason go back to Watertown where they’d left their original car. It makes no sense.

  9. Don’t forget this very strange bit reported by the Globe, in its definitive The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev: “Asked if Tamerlan might have known Collier from the Salem campus or had approached him intentionally, state and federal investigators declined to comment.

    The Salem campus is not the only place that Tamerlan and Collier might have crossed paths. Both men were active in Somerville boxing circles. Tamerlan trained at a gym called the Somerville Boxing Club that closed several years ago. Collier provided IT assistance to a newer club called the Somerville Youth Development & Boxing Club. Some trainers and staff involved at both clubs wonder if Tamerlan ever became aware of Collier at one of the two locations.”

    There just too many weird jumps and unanswered questions in this case. The feds totally flipped (publicly) on the significance of the Dagestan trip, from no big deal to radicalizing for bomb plans; on where the bomb plans came from, etc.

    • Guest says:

      Although, keep in mind that T. Tsarnaev was actually training out of the South Boston Boxing Club located at the L St. bath house in South Boston when all the discourse arose resulting in regulatory changes that disqualified him from competitive boxing.
      Here’s another thought to ponder – Many consider the possibility that the bombing was a false flag for national/international reasons with respect to Homeland security and U.S. Policies in the Middle East, however, perhaps we might consider taking a look at things on a more regional (state) level and take a look at high profile events on the state level in MA that were happening at the time of the bombing, one of which was the scheduled James “Whitey’ Bulger trial that had major implications of corruption on every level to include not only the well chronicled FBI corruption but also corruption within the Boston Police Department, other local police departments, the MA State Police as well as other Federal agencies – could the bombing have resulted in a precursory distraction related to the long awaited Bulger trial that began in June 2013???
      (The Bulger trial itself was expected to last months, however, it ended up being a much shorter trial when The decision was made not to call many of the defense witnesses.)

  10. Guest says:

    Allston is part of Boston. It’s not a suburb. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s not Cambridge, but it’s also not a well-protected secret. I suppose it’s possible to get some facts wrong.

  11. goingnowherefast says:

    The whole Boston Marathon bombing never smelled right and it keeps smelling worse as time goes on.

    It seems your the only journalist keeping tabs on this story. Thank you and keep it coming.

  12. Sunshine says:

    this timeline gives us another Hispanic man in a cowboy hat except this time it’s the description of the villain at the 7-11 vs. The juxtaposition of Carlos Arredondo the savior in the cowboy hat at the marathon. In the Midwest or someplace like Texas, men in cowboy hats are more common place but in Boston, especially in left leaning liberal Cambridge, another dude in a cowboy hat in this timeline is almost comical, would have been difficult to miss, especially fleeing a robbery.

  13. Gordon Phinn says:

    Thanks for keeping this one alive. Let’s face it, it stinks from stem to stern. A psy-ops for sure, but to what purpose? Crowd control and city closure? More I suspect.

  14. Unknown says:

    Great article!