Autopsy Says Boston Bombing Suspect Died of Gunshot Wounds and Blunt Trauma

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WORCESTER, Mass. -- Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old man who the authorities say is one of two brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing, died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma, according to his death certificate.

A copy of the document, signed by Dr. Henry M. Nields, the chief medical examiner for Massachusetts, was on file at Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, where Mr. Tsarnaev's body is being kept.

Mr. Tsarnaev died after an exchange of gunfire with police officers following a pursuit on April 18, not long after the Federal Bureau of Investigation released grainy surveillance photographs showing him and his brother, Dzhokhar, at the marathon.

Law enforcement officials say the two placed the explosives that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The night of the shootout, the authorities say, the Tsarnaev brothers shot and killed a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean A. Collier, and then stole a car in Boston, which they eventually drove to nearby Watertown, Mass.

There, officials say, the brothers threw explosives and exchanged gunfire with the police before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, climbed back into the car and drove off, apparently hitting his older brother. The younger brother was apprehended the next evening in Watertown and is being held at a federal medical prison in Devens, Mass.

The certificate says Tamerlan Tsarnaev's cause of death was "gunshot wounds of torso and extremities" and also cites "blunt trauma to head and torso." It says Mr. Tsarnaev was "shot by police then run over and dragged by motor vehicle." He was pronounced dead on April 19 at 1:35 a.m. after being taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The death was ruled a homicide.

The certificate says an autopsy has been performed, but Peter A. Stefan, the owner of the funeral home, said he expected another to take place before the burial.

He said he had been contacted by lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who told him that they wanted to have a second autopsy performed.

As of Saturday morning, Mr. Stefan said he had not found a cemetery that would accept the body. He said he was seeking help from state and federal authorities.

"If you don't want to bury the body, give me another option," Mr. Stefan said with some frustration. "What am I going to do?"

Mr. Stefan has been widely criticized for accepting Mr. Tsarnaev's body, and on Saturday his funeral parlor was guarded by a police detail.

But the funeral home also received at least a dozen calls from individuals wanting to make donations to assist with the burial, Mr. Stefan said. The funeral home said individuals should instead donate to the bombing's victims through the One Fund Boston.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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