When David Henneberry nipped outside for a cigarette, he had no idea it would lead to a bloody shootout in his back garden and the capture of the most wanted man in America.
Like thousands of other residents of Watertown, a sleepy middle-class suburb of Boston, the 66-year-old had been cooped up in his home, at 67 Franklin Street, since police imposed a curfew in the early hours of Friday.
The curfew followed a 2am gun battle just a few streets away that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, dead and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar on the run. A thousand police, SWAT teams, dog units and explosive experts had been going door-to-door as frightened residents were ordered to shelter inside their homes.
But by 5.30pm, Dzhokhar still hadn’t been found and the curfew was lifted.
Despite cool temperatures and intermittent rain, residents – many of whom had been locked inside their homes all day – began emerging on to the streets. Some jogged, others walked their dogs while most stood chatting to neighbours.
Mr Henneberry, whose ‘passion’ is his 24-ft white fibreglass Seahawk pleasure cruiser, strolled into his garden at 6.05pm – and immediately noticed the tarpaulin covering his prized boat had been disturbed.
Neighbour George Pizzuto said: ‘He got his ladder and put it up against the side of the boat and climbed up. He saw blood on it and what he thought was a body lying at the back. He immediately ran inside and called the police.
‘David was totally distraught and in shock. That boat’s his baby. He takes care of it like you won’t believe.’
Robert Duffy, Mr Henneberry’s stepson, added: ‘As soon as he saw the tarp on the boat he knew something wasn’t right. It was flapping in the wind and, when he got the ladder he realised one of the straps had been cut – not chafed, or unhooked but cut.’
‘He stuck his head under it and noticed a pool of blood and what he thought was a man’s leg. He saw someone crumpled up in a ball.’
Minutes later and all hell broke loose as around 300 police officers, FBI and SWAT teams descended on the quiet neighbourhood.
At 6.15pm police had cordoned off a three-block, area, erecting barricades and sending sharpshooters to ‘cover’ street corners and take positions on rooftops. A police helicopter with heat sensors flew over the garden to verify there was a body inside the boat.