Investigators were finally able to start grilling Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev late yesterday — after he recovered enough from neck wounds to scribble out written responses to questions.
The 19-year-old accused killer could not talk because he is believed to have shot himself in a suicide attempt as officers closed in on him Friday. He wrote out responses from his Boston hospital bed, law-enforcement sources told ABC News.
The probers reportedly asked Tsarnaev about other unexploded bombs and possible terror-cell members, the sources said.
Earlier in the day, officials had said Tsarnaev — sedated and hooked up to a breathing tube at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston — was in no shape to meet with investigators because of his neck and throat wounds.
Investigators told CBS News it appeared that, when he was cornered by police, Dzhokhar had stuck a gun in his mouth and fired, sending the bullet out the back of his neck.
Tsarnaev’s bedside questioning came just hours after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick revealed that police have a “chilling” video showing him dropping a backpack containing an improvised explosive device and calmly walking away as the deadly twin blasts erupted in his wake.
“It does seem pretty clear that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion,” Patrick told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“It’s pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly.”
Tsarnaev remained under heavy guard in serious but stable condition, officials said.
His brother, Tamerlan, 26, his alleged accomplice in the horrific race-day bombings, was killed in a wild police shootout early Friday morning.
Dzhokhar had not yet been charged last night, but sources said he faced federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges.
Meanwhile yesterday, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar was a student, reopened its campus after it was evacuated during the lockdown Friday.
Students there continued to give chilling accounts of their classmate’s actions in the days after the bombing.
Dzhokhar nonchalantly dismissed the carnage as he watched coverage of the explosions playing across the television screens at his gym on the day after the blasts, said Zach Bettencourt, who ran into him at the facility.
“Hey, man, are you seeing this?” Bettencourt, 19, said he asked Tsarnaev, who seemed uninterested and fiddled with his iPod.
“He looked up and said, ‘Yeah, well. Tragedies happen all the time.’ ”
Several students said Dzhokhar was seen hanging out, smoking and speaking Russian, with two men who were arrested Saturday at an apartment near the college.
The men, identified only by their first names, Azamat and Dias, tooled around town in a BMW with a license plate that read “Terrorista #1.” Dzhokhar had tweeted a photo of the car.
The duo, whose arrests were confirmed by the a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, face deportation.
Dzhokhar’s sisters, Alina and Bella, remained hunkered down in a West New York, NJ, apartment yesterday under police guard.
“They’re being quiet,” said Officer Luis Gonzales. “You could see they have a lot on their minds.”
A man who answered the door said: “We have nothing to say right now. We have children here,”
West New York Mayor Felix Roque said he was at the sisters’ home shortly after their brother was arrested in the massive Boston dragnet on Friday.
“They were very depressed and somber,” he said. “It was like being at a wake. They were huddled like little children . . . both of them were weeping.”