The way the nation met 33-year-old MBTA Transit Police officer Richard Donohue was — like much of the conflicting information from that night of mayhem in Watertown, Massachusetts — violent, fast, and scary: He was exchanging fire with the Tsarnaev brothers, the story went, and he took a gun shot to his right thigh from the Boston bombing suspects — an injury that would see Donohue lose all of his own blood, sever three blood vessels, send him into cardiac arrest, and almost die. Now comes a more complete picture, with more eyewitnesses telling a new story, that Donohue was probably shot by a fellow police officer.
The Boston Globe has a long story in today’s paper with new accounts from Watertown residents who witnessed “the climactic moment in the confrontation, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drove between two groups of police officers amid police gunfire” in the early morning of April 19. Jane Dyson lives less than 200 feet from where Donohue went down:
“A black SUV appeared, and rapid gun fire was focused on the vehicle,” Dyson wrote in a statement provided to the Globe, referring to the vehicle Tsarnaev allegedly drove in his escape. “It appeared to me that an individual at the corner [of the street] fell to the ground and had probably been hit in the gunfire.”
Dyson’s account of the guns-blazing getaway seems to indicate that Donohue was shot while Dzhokhar was fleeing (and running over his brother) and that the gunfire was one-way, not an exchange between the suspects and the cops. Indeed, the Globe reports that the Tsarnaev brothers were no longer armed as Dzhokhar drove away, which would seem to align with updated reports about the next day that the younger Tsarnaev brother was not, in fact, armed when authorities captured him in a Watertown boat.